SAGE Electrochromics

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SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.
Industry Architectural glass
Founded 1989
Founder John Van Dine
Headquarters 44°19′42″N 93°17′29″W / 44.32833°N 93.29139°W / 44.32833; -93.29139Coordinates: 44°19′42″N 93°17′29″W / 44.32833°N 93.29139°W / 44.32833; -93.29139, Faribault, MN, USA
Products Electrochromic glass
Number of employees
231 (2016)

SAGE Electrochromics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, is a specialized window glass developer based in Faribault, Minnesota. The company develops electronically tintable smart glass (also called electrochromic glass, EC, or dynamic glass), for use in building windows, skylights and curtainwalls, that can be electronically tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve occupant comfort in buildings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), SAGE's SageGlass technology "has the potential to reduce building heating and air conditioning equipment size by up to 25%, resulting in construction cost savings. SageGlass could also potentially reduce overall cooling loads for commercial buildings up to 20% by lowering peak power demand and may reduce lighting costs by up to 60% while providing building occupants with more natural daylight and greater comfort."[1]


The company was founded in 1989 by former CEO John Van Dine as Sun Active Glass Electrochromics, Inc. (SAGE) in a Valley Cottage, New York, laboratory.[2] In 1992 the company moved to Rutgers University’s Department of Ceramic Science and Engineering for R&D collaboration with Rutgers scientists.[2]

In 1994, the company changed its name to SAGE Electrochromics, Inc. It moved to Faribault, Minnesota, in 1998, where over the next five years it refined the production process and testing of its first commercial product, SageGlass, in its pilot line facility.[3][4] Samples of these insulating glass units (IGUs) were tested by the Department of Energy[5] in the glass fabricating and OEM skylight industry.[6]

In 2005, SAGE moved to its new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) headquarters and manufacturing facility, and commercially launched its first-generation SageGlass product.[7]

In March 2010, SAGE announced[8] more than $100 million in DOE funding and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax credits to build a new facility in Faribault, Minnesota, to mass-produce SageGlass IGUs.[1][9] The company ultimately decided to withdraw from the government funding program.


Shortly thereafter, the company announced a new product that combines electrochromic technology with low U-factor triple-pane window glass construction.[10] On November 10, 2010,French glass and building materials company Saint-Gobain acquired 50 percent of the SAGE with plans to share the two companies electrochromic glass technology and research and development efforts, The companies are also building the world's first large-scale electrochromic glass plant in Faribault, Minnesota.[11]

In 2012, SAGE opened a new 324,000-square-foot (30,100 square-meter) high volume manufacturing facility to manufacture its next generation SageGlass product.

In May 2012 Saint-Gobain announced they had acquired 100% of SAGE. The company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain at that time. [12]

October 2, 2013, the company announced that Van Dine stepped down from the CEO position to be replaced by Alan McLenaghan, with Van Dine becoming vice chairman for a three-year term starting in January 2014.


As of 2010, SAGE Electrochromics has received more than $50 million in venture capital funding and government grants.[13][14][15] In July 2007, the company received $16 million in Series B financing[14] from Good Energies, Applied Ventures, LLC and Bekaert. In February 2009, SAGE received an additional $20 million round from the same investors.[16]

In March 2010, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the DOE had awarded SAGE a conditional commitment for a $72 million loan guarantee, along with the $31 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit SAGE was awarded earlier.[17] The loan guarantee and tax credits are to be used to help SAGE establish a new facility to expand production and lower costs of its electrochromic glass, with the goal to make buildings more energy efficient and create new green manufacturing and construction jobs.[1] The funding was granted under the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, to support new technologies that reduce or sequester greenhouse gases.

The 50 percent acquisition of SAGE by Saint-Gobain in November 2010 was an additional $80 million investment.[18] SAGE will manufacture the electrochromic glass for both companies at the new Faribault, Minnesota, plant. The facility will allow production of larger sheets of dynamic glass at high volumes, making it suitable and affordable for most buildings.[18]


SageGlass is electronically tintable glass for use in buildings.[19] It incorporates nanotechnology consisting of five layers of ceramic materials,[20] which have a total thickness that is less than 1/50th that of a human hair.[19] When voltage is applied [less than 5V DC] it darkens as lithium ions and associated electrons transfer from the counter electrode to an electrochromic electrode layer[21] (see Figure 1). Reversing the voltage polarity causes the ions and associated electrons to return to their original layer, the counter electrode, and the glass clears. This solid state electrochromic reaction is controlled through a low voltage DC power supply. When the SageGlass coating darkens, the sun’s light and heat are absorbed and subsequently reradiated from the glass surface to the exterior – much the way low-emissivity glass also keeps out unwanted heat.

A How electrochromic glass works.
Figure 1: How electrochromic glass works.

For example, on hot, sunny days the tint in the windows would darken to reduce glare and block out heat. On cold, cloudy days the windows would clear to allow sunlight and heat to fill the office or home. The electrical switching of tints can be operated manually or integrated into an automated building management system. SageGlass modulates visible light transmission and solar heat gain, and, in the tinted condition, blocks 91 percent of the solar heat gain.[22]

In addition to stopping solar heat gain, electrochromic IGUs block glare, reduce fading, eliminate the need for some other architectural environmental controls such as window shades and awnings, and enable building inhabitants to continually view the outdoors.[23][24]

SAGE holds over 300 U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications relating to its SageGlass technology.


SageGlass was the first electrochromic IGU to pass the ASTM E-2141-06 (Standard Test Methods for Assessing the Durability of Absorptive Electrochromic Coatings on Sealed IGU), performing more than 100,000 cycles of accelerated environmental durability testing, which is twice the test standard and equivalent to switching a window nine times per day for 365 days/year over a 30-year lifetime, according to NREL.[25][26]

Green building qualifications[edit]

SageGlass is GreenSpec-listed, which means it has been designated as an environmentally preferable building product by BuildingGreen LLC. SageGlass IGUs also qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited building projects because they provide an additional tool for daylighting design and also conserve energy.[27] SageGlass qualifies for LEED credits in the following categories:

  • EA Credit 1 - Optimize Energy Performance (1-19 points possible)[27]
  • EA Prerequisite 2 - Minimum Energy Performance (Required)[27]
  • IEQ Credit 7.1 - Thermal Comfort Design (1 point possible)[27]
  • IEQ Credit 8.1 - Daylight and Views, Daylight (1 point possible)[27]
  • IEQ Credit 6.2 - Controllability of Systems, Thermal Comfort (1 point possible)[27]
  • SS Credit 8 - Light Pollution Reduction (1 point possible)[27]

In addition, SageGlass could potentially qualify for the following credit:

  • I&DP Credit 1 – Innovation in Design (1 point possible)[27]


Electrochromic glass manufacturers:

Other smart glass manufacturers:

Superinsulated glass manufacturers:


SageGlass has been installed in commercial, institutional and high-end residential applications, including:

Management Team[edit]

The management team includes the following:[30]

  • Alan McLenaghan, CEO
  • Francis O'Neill - Director of Sales
  • Chuck Hayes - Vice President, Strategic Purchasing & Legal
  • David Pender - Director of Operations
  • Derek Malmquist – Vice President, Marketing
  • Jean-Christophe Giron, PhD – Vice President, R&D and Product Development
  • Lou Podbelski - Vice President, Architectural Solutions
  • Phillipe Firmin – Financial Director



  • "GAIA Awards" 2016 in Middle East for the sustainable product.
  • Architectural Products Product Innovation Award, 2015[32]
  • Green Thinker Network Sustainability 2013 Award [33]
  • Solar Foundation Technology Innovation Award, 2013 [33]
  • The SNAPPYS—SNAP Magazine's Product Awards, 2013 [33]
  • 2013 NACDB Merit Award—Industry Award for Innovation [33]
  • Minnesota Business Magazine Manufacturing Awards: Sustainability [33]
  • Green Thinker Network Sustainability 2012 Award [33]
  • Batimat International Innovation Awards, 2011 [33]
  • "Bloomberg New Energy Finance" New Energy Pioneer, 2011[34]
  • Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovation Award 2004[35]
  • Building Operation Management’s 2010 Top Products Award[36]
  • Inc. Magazine’s Most Likely To Succeed Award 2006[37]
  • R&D 100 Awards for Energy[38]
  • BuildingGreen Top-10 Green Building Products Award 2006[39]
  • Home’s 2005 American Building Product Award[citation needed]
  • Innovative Housing 2006 Technology Award[40]
  • Buildings Magazine’s 2007 Editor’s Choice Top 100 Products Award[41]
  • Window Door Crystal Achievement Award 2005[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "DOE Offers $72 Million Conditional Loan Guarantee to SAGE Electrochromics" (Press release). U.S. Department of Energy. 2010-03-05. 
  2. ^ a b Window Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology,Advanced Technology Program Status Report
  3. ^ C.G.Granqvist, Crit. Rev. Solid State Mater. Sci. 16, 291-308 (1990); C.M.Lampert, Solar Energy Materials, 11, 1-27 (1984)
  4. ^ Electrochromics, Achieving Business Excellence, 2009-06-08
  5. ^ [1], How long will EC window coatings last? The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Advancement of Electrochromic Windows website
  6. ^ OF ELECTROCHROMIC WINDOWS, Thermal Calibration of the Windows Testbed Facility Technical Report, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2006-04
  7. ^ "Minnesota Investment Network Corporation Invests in High-Tech Architectural Glass Manufacturer" (Press release). SAGE Electrochromics, Inc. 2005-02-02. 
  8. ^ "$100+ million in DOE funding and Internal Revenue Service green manufacturing tax credits will bring SAGE's revolutionary energy-saving dynamic glass to the world" (Press release). 2010-03-05. 
  9. ^ "Sage Electrochromics SageGlass: Improving Indoor Environments Through Light Quality". 
  10. ^ "SAGE Introduces World's Most Energy-Efficient Window Glass". Nanowerk News. 2010-03-31. 
  11. ^ "Saint-Gobain: Acquires 50% Of Sage Electrochromics". Wall Street Journal. 2010-11-10. 
  12. ^ "Saint-Gobain Acquires Sage Electrochromics for Smart Windows". Greentech Media. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Pulling back the curtains,, 2010-07-2010
  14. ^ a b [2], SAGE Electrochromics Secures $16 Million in Series B Financing, SAGE Electrochromics press release, July 17, 2007
  15. ^ Smart Windows Open Up More Funding for SAGE, GigaOM, 2009-02-24
  16. ^ [3], Energy-saving glass maker picks up $20 million, CNET News, Green Tech, Feb. 25, 2009
  17. ^ [4], DOE Offers $72 Million Conditional Loan Guarantee to SAGE Electrochromics, U.S. DOE press release, March 5, 2010
  18. ^ a b "Saint-Gobain invests $80 million in SAGE to make energy saving glass". Energy Efficiency News. 2010-11-15. 
  19. ^ a b Windows that can be Electronically Switched from Clear to Tinted, The Energy Blog, 2006-11-27
  20. ^ C.G.Granqvist, ‘Handbook of Inorganic Electrochromic Materials’, Elsevier (1995), Chapter 1 p1
  21. ^ efficient glass manufacturing supported by DOE and IRS tax credits, Plant Engineering, 2010-03-23
  22. ^ Electrochromics, Inc. - Energy Conservation, Journal of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, 2009
  23. ^ Networking for Dynamic Window Systems, Energy and Buildings, 3002-10-03S
  24. ^ Glass a breakthrough in energy-saving and “green” building, IP Glass Technology, 2007-12
  25. ^ SPECIAL REPORT/GLASS MANUFACTURING: Dynamic Views, Ceramic Industry, 2007-06-01
  26. ^ WINDOW SYSTEMS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2006-05
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h Sage Electrochromics "Dynamic Glass" Selected For Chabot College` s Community & Student Services Center, Glass on Web, 2010-05-25
  28. ^ [5], SAGE’s smart green glass is showcased at California college,, May 27, 2010
  29. ^ a b c d [6], Project galleries, SAGE Electrochromics website
  30. ^ [7]
  31. ^
  32. ^ "SageGlass Receives 2015 Product Innovation Award From Architectural Products | SageGlass". Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g
  34. ^ Bloomberg New Energy Finance Honors Ten New Energy Pioneers
  35. ^ [8], Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards 2004, Dow Jones website
  36. ^ [9], Building Operating Management 2010 Top Products Award, FacilitiesNet website, Jan. 2010
  37. ^ Jim Melloan (January 1, 2010). "Most Likely to Succeed". Inc. magazine. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  38. ^ [10], 2004 R&D 100 Award Winners, R&D website, Aug. 6, 2004
  39. ^ [], 2006 BuildingGreen Top Products,
  40. ^ [11], 2006 Innovative Housing Technology Awards, 2010 Builders’s Show and Nextbuild website
  41. ^ [12], 2007 Editors Choice: Top Product Picks,
  42. ^ [13], SAGE receives 2005 Crystal Achievement Award, U.S. Department of Energy website, Nov. 25, 2005

External links[edit]