Self-tinting glass maker outfits ‘eco-smart’ house


The REHAU MONTANA "eco-smart" house in Bozeman, Montana features self-tinting Suntuitive glass by Jenison-based Pleotint. Courtesy Pleotint

An “eco-smart” house designed as a university research lab has been recognized for its sustainable products and processes, including self-tinting glass by a manufacturer in the area.

Jenison-based Pleotint, which makes self-tinting Suntuitive glass, said yesterday that windows on the now award-winning REHAU MONTANA eco-smart house project in Bozeman, Montana include its glass.

The REHAU MONTANA eco-smart house, sponsored by REHAU, a maker of polymer-based products for multiple industries, is a residential modeling and construction project that aims to exhibit the potential for maximized energy efficiency and occupant comfort by combining the latest sustainable building systems.

A goal of the project is for the house to be a near “net zero” consumer of energy.

The dynamic Suntuitive glass features a self-tinting technology that “darkens gradually and dynamically when heated by direct sunlight.”

There are no wires, electrodes, power supplies or controls involved.

The glass will continuously adapt at any time of the day, year round and in any place in the house, based on the amount of direct sunlight.

Pleotint said the glass can help lower the costs associated with heating, air conditioning and artificial lighting, which together can represent “up to 70 percent of a building’s total energy consumption.”

The house previously earned a U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, LEED certification in the LEED for Homes category.

Pleotint said yesterday that the USGBC and its Montana chapter also recently recognized the REHAU MONTANA house with an annual Sustainability Award, which is awarded specifically for the products and processes used with a building.

Chad Simkins, VP of Pleotint, said the house’s designers were looking for innovative technology that could be incorporated into the windows.

“We’re obviously very pleased the way the job turned out and the honors it is gathering,” Simkins said.

The eco-smart house was set up as a living lab for the Montana State University Creative Research Lab, which was charged with leading a test of its energy performance over a two-year period.

More than 300 sensors were placed throughout the house to collect data to evaluate the performance of the various building systems in everyday situations, as well as how each of the systems contributes to the home’s energy efficiency, comfort and lifecycle costs.

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