Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the Department of Energy has offered a conditional commitment for a $72 million loan guarantee to SAGE Electrochromics, based in Faribault, Minnesota. The deal will support the financing of the construction and operation of a 250,000 square foot, high volume manufacturing facility to produce SageGlass®, an energy-saving window technology for commercial use. This new facility will be built next to SAGE’s existing production facility, enabling the company to expand production and lower costs.
“This investment will help cut utility bills, reduce carbon pollution, and create jobs our economy needs,” said Secretary Chu. “It’s a perfect example of the power of American innovation to create a stronger economy and a healthier planet.”
SAGE has developed the world’s only commercially available, electronically “tintable” window glass. SageGlass® allows natural light in while controlling unwanted solar heat and glare and can be used in building windows, skylights, and curtain walls. 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 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), part of the DOE lab network, considers electrochromic glazings to be the next major advance in energy efficient window technology, helping transform windows and skylights from energy liabilities in buildings to energy savers. Since energy lost through conventional windows accounts for approximately 30% of heating and cooling energy, the potential for energy savings is significant. LBNL believes SageGlass® also 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.
SAGE estimates that construction of this manufacturing facility will create 210 jobs over 12 months.
The SAGE conditional commitment was made through section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which provides financing for projects which employ new or significantly improved technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
This is the seventh conditional commitment issued by DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program since March of 2009. SAGE adds to the program’s diverse portfolio of clean energy projects which includes wind turbine manufacturing, solar generation and manufacturing, electricity storage, nuclear power, and energy efficiency.