Specifying Electrochromic Glass

Opportunities and Challenges – An Architect’s Perspective



Photo of Belinda Valenti, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Belinda Valenti, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


STUDIOS Architecture


Photo of Justin Glover, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Justin Glover, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Associate Principal

STUDIOS Architecture



Electrochromic (EC) glass is a seemingly magical solution to a building’s sun shading problems. A technology that was originally developed about sixty years ago is simple and effective; a low-volt current runs through a thin film that is placed inside an insulated glazing unit, resulting in glazing that can reduce visible light transmission to a fraction of one percent. On the upside, EC glass is highly configurable with multiple different tint states. It eliminates the need for sunshades. It offers privacy and security, its software anticipates the need for shading by both analyzing data and using a real-time sensor. On the downside, the color of the tinted glass tends to be very blue, panel sizes are limited, there is added cost in the EC glass material, and electrical controls are spatially cumbersome to accommodate. There are only a handful of manufacturers, and only one of those companies has existed for more than ten years.

This paper investigates many of the opportunities and limitations of specifying electrochromic glass on large-scale projects, with a focus on very large installations of over 75,000 sf of electrochromic glass (project size of approximately 250,000 sf). Research presented here offers insights into the process of investigating, specifying and implementing the product today.


Electrochromic glazing can dynamically and plurally address some of the oldest and most central tenets of architectural design. In this paper we will describe how electrochromic (EC) glazing can be

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There are a specific set of opportunities afforded through the specification of EC glass that an architect can add to their design tool chest. In this section we will discuss

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Conclusions and Future Work

There are significant value propositions made through the use of EC glass and we hope that the research and analysis discussed here can help other design teams benefit from our

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STUDIOS Architecture, Holland Basham Architects, Morrissey Engineering, Front Inc., representatives at View, Inc., SageGlass, and Halio Glass

Rights and Permissions


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Court Case: Sage Electrochromics, Inc. v. View, Inc. (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA January 5, 2015).

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