Saint-Gobain and SAGE Electrochromics to Build the World's First Large-scale Electrochromic Glass Plant
11 November 2010
Saint-Gobain Glass has acquired 50 percent of the equity of the U.S. company SAGE Electrochromics for the large-scale manufacture of electrochromic glass.
The world’s first large-scale electrochromic glass plant will be built in Faribault, Minnesota (United States). The project which started in November 2010 will cost about US$ 135 million. The new plant will have an annual production capacity of more than 370, 000 square meters (4 million square feet) of electrochromic glass with sizes ranging up to 1.5 x 3.5 meters (5 x 10 feet), much larger than currently available in the market. The plant is scheduled to begin production starting in mid-2012.
The aim is to sell this innovative glass at an affordable price thanks to the scale of the manufacturing plant. Jointly both companies have more than 100 patents and 40 years’ combined research experience.
Activated by a low-voltage current, electrochromic glass adapts its light and heat transmission – and so its tint – to the level of sunlight and the building’s ambient temperature, without hindering external visibility. It significantly reduces the amount of energy consumed for air conditioning, heating and lighting, and enhances occupant comfort and well-being. For architects, it creates an aesthetic and efficient alternative to the current and prevalent use of mechanical window shades and blinds which currently dominate the market.
"This alliance heralds the start of a new revolution in the habitat glass industry," said Jean-Pierre Floris, Senior Vice-President of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain and President of the Innovative Materials Sector. "Thanks to the partnership between Saint-Gobain and SAGE, we are providing electrochromic advanced glazing that will be environmentally significant and affordable. SAGE and Saint-Gobain, whose names are associated with some of the world’s most prestigious buildings, will now be providing the most efficient electrochromic glazing to the international market through the certified distribution networks of Sage and QUANTUM GLASS(TM)."
"Until now, electrochromic glass has been an emerging product, not widely deployed due to cost and manufacturing challenges. This alliance will trigger economies of scale, making possible a new era of high-performance windows that are both eco-friendly and economically sound," said John Van Dine, SAGE Chief Executive Office. "We are combining the best science and capabilities of the world’s two leading electrochromic technologies, and capitalizing on Saint-Gobain’s glassmaking experience, to deliver a product that’s higher quality and more durable than ever before, at half the cost of today’s electrochromic products. This alliance will dramatically accelerate global adoption of this game-changing technology in both commercial and residential markets."
SAGE will remain an independent company and continue to market its SageGlass® products in North America where they are used in hundreds of up-market commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Saint-Gobain will market SageGlass® under the QUANTUM GLASS(TM) brand in Europe. The two companies will work together to develop a marketing strategy for Asia and the rest of the world, leveraging Saint-Gobain’s distribution partnerships.