New player enters the smart glass market

By Katy Devlin
November 13, 2009
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : GREEN, MEETINGS AND EVENTS

RavenBrick, Denver, debuted a smart-window technology during the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix, Nov. 11-13. RavenWindow, the company’s thermochromic switchable window, automatically tints when the glass temperature rises.

“When the glass gets hot, the window enters a tinted state without wires or other controls,” said Alex Burney, CEO, during the expo.

The intelligent windows feature a film based on nanotechnology that’s used in a traditional insulating glass unit. The windows cost about $25 per square foot and have a four-year to six-year return on investment. “Green technologies need to make financial sense for owners,” Burney said.

The company is looking for IGU manufacturing partners to produce the smart windows, Burney said. “We want to be as non-exclusive as possible,” he said.

RavenBrick teamed up with one such partner, Arch Aluminum & Glass, Tamarac, Fla., to supply the windows for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory new facility in Golden, Colo. NREL’s Research Support Facility will be the first application of RavenWindow.

“We’re in new technology mode, and this product is interesting and innovative,” said Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch. “These new, green products are helping us diversity our product line and discover new customer bases.”

The NREL facility is designed to be a zero energy building that will exceed the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rating, according to a release from Haselden Construction, Denver, the general contractor. The building also will feature smart windows using a different technology from Sage Electrochromics Inc., Faribault, Minn. The company will supply 1,700 square feet of its electronically tintable glass for the project, according to Jeremy Kaeding, Sage regional sales manager.

According to Perilstein, both smart-window technologies can find success in the industry. “There is room for all of these new technologies. The [glass] industry needs it,” he said.

RavenBrick was created in 2007, Burney said. In addition to its smart windows, it also produces RavenSkin, a spandrel product, RavenLight, a daylighting technology, and RavenWindow ER, a switchable glass that becomes a mirror.