How installing hi-tech windows helped a DFW Airport bar sell twice as many drinks

April 20, 2018 by Conor Shine, The Dallas Morning News

At DFW International Airport, the coolest seats in the house can be found near Gate A28.

That's where the airport, working with California-based technology company View, has replaced a bank of tarmac-facing windows with panes coated in microscopic layers of electrochromic ceramic that significantly reduce the amount of heat and glare coming into the terminal.

The technology, referred to as dynamic , uses an electrical current to change how much light is let in and has been shown to reduce surface temperatures on gate area seats and carpets by as much as 15 degrees compared to standard windows. All that heat savings add up, with View estimating its product can cut energy costs by as much as 20 percent when the technology is deployed widely in a building.

At DFW Airport, the energy bill runs about $18 million per year, putting the potential savings from dynamic glass into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, annually.

Besides the money, it's an appealing set of characteristics for DFW Airport, which is North America's only carbon-neutral airport and regularly ranks among the top large airports for customer experience in the world.

After installing the dynamic glass near Gate A28 and a nearby Twisted Root restaurant in September at a cost of $49,000, the airport is now looking at ordering more for use throughout its terminals, although how many and at what cost hasn't been finalized yet.

"We are constantly evaluating new technologies and solutions throughout the airport to identify improvements for customer experience and sustainability," the airport's CEO Sean Donohue said in a statement. "We were very pleased to see the positive effect on the customer experience and how the glass changed customer behavior with less glare and cooler temperatures."

The View system is more than just a fancy sheet of glass, with a proprietary software algorithm backing it up that automatically adjusts how much light is let in based on the time of day, the outdoor temperature, cloud cover and the direction the windows are facing, among other factors.

View has even measured how far back seats at DFW are from the windows and the average height of a seated person in the gate area to incorporate into the software's calculations, said Jeff Platon, the company's vice president of marketing.

While more expensive to manufacture than standard panes, the energy savings from View's dynamic glass can quickly pay for themselves, Platon said.

"It really does track with our other findings, which is whenever we do something to be more green, it helps the bottom line as well," airport spokesman David Magana said.

On a recent weekday morning, the impact of the dynamic glass was on full display. As sunlight beamed into Gate A25, passengers largely avoided the seats near the standard windows, favoring shadier spots a bit further into the terminal.

A few feet away, the bright natural light takes on a subtle blue hue and the temperature near the windows is noticeably cooler. There, passengers seemed to pay no mind to sitting in the sun, with window-adjacent seats filling up quickly.

A similar effect played out down the terminal, where Twisted Root saw its alcohol sales double in the six months after the windows were installed at its east-facing bar overlooking the tarmac.

That's a result of people being more comfortable and spending more time at the bar, according to a study conducted for View by a Cornell University professor.

"When it's this kind of environment where you have a lot of glare and heat, it tends to drive people away," said Platon. "We're trying to do something that's good for the planet, good for people's health and wellness, and also good for profitability."

View has installed or is in the process of installing its dynamic glass windows at several other airports, including in San Francisco; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; and Meachem International Airport in Fort Worth.

Platon said the windows have also been popular with corporate offices, hospitals and university campuses, including at Southern Methodist University, where the dining hall incorporates the technology. View said it has completed 200 commercial installations, with another 200 in progress.

Magana, the airport spokesman, said the is finalizing its request for dynamic glass, which will be put out to a competitive bid in the coming weeks.

Explore further: Researchers invent new method to create self-tinting windows


Related Stories

View Dynamic Glass system goes on public display (w/ Video)

November 14, 2012

(—Another step forward in the electrochromic glass trade is this week's announcement by the Milpitas, California,- company View that its self-tinting window solution, called View Dynamic Glass, is ready for deployment. ...

Clever coating opens door to smart windows

February 26, 2018

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia have developed a new ultra-thin coating that responds to heat and cold, opening the door to "smart windows".

Smart windows that go from clear to dark in under a minute

August 9, 2017

Stanford University engineers have developed dynamic windows that can switch from transparent to opaque or back again in under a minute and do not degrade over time. The prototypes are plates of conductive glass outlined ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

Paleontologists report world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex

March 22, 2019

University of Alberta paleontologists have just reported the world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex and the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Canada. The 13-metre-long T. rex, nicknamed "Scotty," lived in prehistoric Saskatchewan ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.