Push-Button Window Tinting An Energy Saver

In a city like Portland, Ore., you want to enjoy the sun while you can, because there will be weeks—even months—when you won’t hardly see it. That’s one of the reasons Mercy Corps, a global aid agency, decided to use SageGlass in its new LEED Platinum headquarter’s building.

SageGlass is a smart window from Sage, a company we explored in some depth last year. This windows allow users to electronically adjust their tint at the touch of a button to manage the daylight entering a building. This in turn allows architects to design in lots of glass in an environmentally friendly way, since the glass can be darkened to prevent heat gain on bright warm days (or lightened to bring in sunlight on cold days).

mercy corps, energy efficient building, portland

image via THA Architecture

The windows are just one of the many features incorporated into the building that help reduce the amount of energy it uses. In fact, the Mercy Corps building is said to have 69 percent better energy performance than conventional office buildings, according to a study by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

The 82,000-square-foot building is in Portland’s historic Old Town neighborhood and houses all of Mercy Corps’ 160 Portland-based employees. The $37 million building was designed by THA Architecture with Deca providing the space planning, interior design and furniture selection and design.

“We wanted to use every available technology that made sense, to create a very energy-efficient building,” Laura Klinger, an architect at THA, said in a statement from SageGlass. “The exterior skin of the building is crucial to that effort. We made it super-insulated while also providing optimal shading on the exposed areas of the building with the help of SageGlass.”

In addition to its LEED Platinum certification, the highest offered for buildings, it has also received a number of design awards including the Carbon Consciousness Award, Best Green Building fromMcGraw-Hill Construction, and Most Admired Non-Profit Building from Oregon Business Journal.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.