Infrastructure

San Francisco International Looks to Dynamic Glass for Efficiencies, Safety

California’s second-largest airport is installing electrochromic glass that is capable of automatically lightening and tinting.

by / April 2, 2018
San Francisco International Airport to install intelligent glass which tints windows automatically. Shutterstock

As the sun eases behind cloud banks at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), watch for the windows to gradually darken.

The airport will soon install a form of “dynamic glazing” that takes into account numerous factors like sunlight, temperature, time and other analytics to determine the perfect level of tint to transition thousands of square feet of windows looking out onto the tarmac.

Glass, of course, can be a huge source of heat transfer in buildings, driving up air conditioning costs and energy consumption. In addition to combating these forces, SFO officials also wanted to explore a solution to cut down on nighttime glare and its effect on pilots.

“These goals were balanced with the desire to harvest as much natural daylight as possible to reduce the necessity of daytime interior lighting,” said Doug Yakel, a public information officer for San Francisco International.

Dynamic glazing — also known as electrochromic glass — uses a low-voltage electrical charge to activate a ceramic coating applied to the outer pane of the glass, along with sensors and other equipment. 

View Dynamic Glass will begin the glass transition project in June, converting more than 58,000 square feet of windows in the 1960s-era Terminal 1 to dynamic glazing, said Yakel. The area contains a total of 112,000 square feet of window glazing.

The move comes as more public- and private-sector organizations look to smart technology and the Internet of Things to become more efficient and user-friendly.