samedi 6 mars 2010

Smart Windows: DOE allows 72 M$

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Department of Energy (DoE) awarded a $72 million loan guarantee to Sage Electrochromics (Faribault, Minn.) to build a smart window that uses electronically controlled coatings to save energy. The loan will finance construction and operation of a 250,000 square foot manufacturing plant to make the SageGlass, generating as many as 210 jobs.
The technology consists of a series of thin ceramic material layers deposited onto sheets of glass, forming an electrochromic device that allows the user to switch the window between a clear state and a highly tinted state using a low-voltage electrical current. The windows can be controlled manually or by a building automation system.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the DoE labs that helped validate the technology, says it could reduce building heating and air conditioning equipment size by up to 25 percent and reduce cooling loads for commercial buildings up to 20 percent.
Sage founder and chief executive John Van Dine said the company's technology can control both visible and near infrared light using the inorganic thin-film coatings that are durable, relatively low cost and can be produced in existing industry form factors. The company plans to break ground on its new facility this summer and ship products in late 2011.
Sage has shipped windows used in hundreds of buildings from an existing pilot plant. In addition to the loan guarantee, Sage received a $31 million tax credit earlier this year as part of the economic stimulus grant.
"Windows are an important part of building energy savings, but we're also looking at a whole integrated system to reduced building energy use as much as 80 percent," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a conference call announcing the load guarantee. "We are establishing a building hub [in the DoE] that can help define these integrated technologies and demonstrate them," he added.

Source: EE Times, 5/3/10
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