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Switchable Impact Glass


PrivacyVue™ and Enviralum partner to offer the first Florida Building Code approved impact-resistant fixed glazing system with switchable glass


PrivacyVue™ switchable glass is now offered in an exterior-hurricane impact storefront product. Enviralum’s ENV-450 fixed window wall system recently obtained Florida Building Code Approval by meeting large and small missile impact requirements with PrivacyVue™ (FL Building Code Approval #19002).

Enviralum’s ENV-450 is a high-performance glazing system that offers variable glazing options, including the recent addition of PrivacyVue™ switchable glass. The system can also be thermally broken for superior energy savings and is a unitized, pre-glazed system that offers superior quality control and saves field labor.

“Today’s architects and owners are constantly looking for unique ways for their buildings to stand out and make a statement, by adding PrivacyVue™ to our ENV-450 system we can not only offer a unique visual design but offer owners and tenants privacy with a flip of a switch,” says Frank Messa, President of Enviralum.


For additional information on PrivacyVue™ visit For additional information on Enviralum visit

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About PrivacyVue™ – PrivacyVue™ offers architects, designers and owners a high-performing, low voltage switchable glass product that can be produced in sizes up to 72” x 120” and is the first switchable glass product that has been approved in an impact-resistant window system. PrivacyVue™ is sold through authorized dealers only. For more information on using or specifying PrivacyVue™ visit or call 305.477.1164.

About Enviralum – Enviralum Industries, Inc., founded in 2011 by Frank Messa, offers a complete line of entrance and storefront systems to meet the demanding needs of the industry in quality, service and sustainable design. The corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility is located in Miami servicing the Southeast region of the United States. For more information on Enviralum visit or call 305.752.4411.

What is “STC”?  Glass & Glazing contractors have become more versed with this metric as it relates to their product offerings as open floor plans incorporating glass become more prevalent:

“STC” stands for Sound Transmission Class

STC ratings are a way to measure and compare how much sound is stopped / absorbed by any given product / material.  STC ratings are used for windows, wall assemblies, doors and some constituent materials.

The STC rating is the average amount of noise stopped at 18 different frequencies, measured in decibels. STC ratings are a logarithmic scale similar to the earthquake Richter Scale, which means each escalating number is significantly higher in performance than the previous number.  It is a non-linear scale.


One US glass manufacturer who has published STC ratings for their various product types are the high-performance glass experts at Viracon.

Viracon Acoustical Glass is made from combinations of various glass types along with acoustical window frames to help you effectively reduce sound transmission from airplanes, trains, vehicles and other unwanted noises. The performance data below applies to an insulating unit. Data is based on testing ~36″ x 84″ glass to ASTM E413-87 in an acoustical wall. Glass size and glazing system will affect STC rating. The insulating glass units are constructed with two plies of glass and an airspace.

The STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating is a single-number rating system for interior building partitions and viewing windows used to categorize acoustic performance.

The OITC (Outside-Inside Transmission Class) rating is used to classify acoustic performance of glazing in exterior applications.


Dash Door’s PrivacyVue Website Has Launched

by Steve Sanko on 1/21/2015

We’re excited to announce that PrivacyVue, Dash Door’s electrified switchable glass product line, now has its own dedicated website! The site features more details about the switchable glass, including applications and product and design options, as well as key features and examples of the glass in use. Take a look at the new website here to learn more.

If you’re interested in incorporating PrivacyVue in your commercial or residential project, please contact

One of our previous posts discussed the increased use of sliding glass doors in office layouts.  It was noted that the use of glass as office fronts increases natural light and energy efficiency.  The increased use of glass however can contribute to decreased privacy.  One solution type that can bring the best of both worlds is Switchable Privacy Glass like the Dash Door PrivacyVue™ line.

This technology will switch the glass from transparent to an opaque translucent state with the simple flip of a switch, tap of an app, or wave of a hand.  The technology makes available a dynamic space that can be both private and open.

Uses of switchable privacy glass include:

• Residential – bathroom / shower enclosures, partitions
• Commercial – conference rooms, office doors/partitions, reception
• Retail – changing rooms, projection displays
• Healthcare: ICU Doors, Nurseries, ERs, ORs, clinic partitions
• Hospitality – bathroom /shower enclosures, partitions
• Banking – ballistic teller lines, transaction windows, safe deposit rooms


Glass “OFF” – Opaque

Glass “OFF” – Opaque

Glass “ON” – Transparent

Glass “ON” – Transparent

The Principal

When the power is off the liquid crystal molecules are randomly oriented and will scatter incidental light. This renders the Switchable Privacy Glass panel opaque.

When an electric current is applied, the liquid crystal molecules line up, the incidental light passes through, and the privacy glass becomes clear.

Privacy Glass is a laminated glass. The laminated material within is Liquid Crystal Privacy Film, which responds to an electrical current.

When electricity is applied to the film via the wiring, the liquid crystals align and the glass instantly becomes clear.  When the power is turned off, the liquid crystals return to their normal scattered positions rendering the glass an opaque translucent.



PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal) is a medium whose light scattering power is adjustable through applying an electric field. In their natural (uncharged) state, the PDLC droplets randomly align.

PDLC Film consists of a polymer matrix of liquid crystals enclosed by electrically conductive Indium Tin Oxide-coated PET film. The resulting PDLC Film has wiring attached to a conductive copper strip (busbar) along the film’s edge.  In a low voltage platform, this wiring is connected to a step-down transformer through which power is supplied for the “on” (clear) state.  In their natural (uncharged) state, the PDLC droplets randomly align, thus creating the an opaque translucent condition.

Two sheets of glass are laminated over the PDLC film. The components are assembled under high pressure and temperature to form a single unit.

The ordinary refractive index of these liquid crystals does not match that of the polymer, and the incident light is thus scattered, resulting in a translucent state. When an electric field is applied across the material, the PDLC droplets re-orient, and subsequently the extraordinary refractive index of the liquid crystal matches that of the polymer. Therefore, the incident light can pass through, resulting in a transparent state.


Laminated Switchable Privacy Glass is opaque / translucent when the switch is in the off position and clear when electric current is applied to each lite of glass


The US architectural and glass trade communities have begun to utilize what has long been strictly a European design sensibility in terms of natural daylight, openness of space and energy savings potential. The frameless sliding glass door has become an increasingly used tool in conjunction with all glass fixed glazed office partitions and the standard glass swing door. This new popularity is a result of numerous factors.

Natural Daylight

Perhaps the largest driver of the sliding glass door trend is the desire to bring natural daylight from the perimeter office spaces to the interior work areas. Designs limited to hard walls with swinging glass doors are morphing into all glass fixed partitions with sliding glass office doors and fixed glass sidelites. The modern commercial sliding glass door can easily accommodate nine-foot standard heights. Ten-foot door heights are being used at conference rooms and where lower -frequency use can justify the heavier door weight. Greater height and use of fixed glass bring natural daylight to the interior work spaces where productivity and morale benefits may be realized.

As use of taller glass abounds, limiting factors such as available freight elevator heights and stairwell widths keep the architectural community “honest” as glass and glazing subcontractors have learned to coordinate early in the design process. “Sometimes it takes a phone call from the big mean glass subcontractor to inform the architect that their 400 pound, 11 foot tall glass conference room door cannot possibly be brought into the building without the type of hoop jumping most building owners will not permit for an interior fit-out” says David Schainberg of Dash Door, Miami, FL. This type of logistic planning will very often be the determining factor of the glass size used in the design. The glazing systems are able to accommodate larger sizes without issue in most cases. Taller openings typically require narrower glass to minimize effect on move in logistics and weight.

Energy Efficiency

Glass sliding doors used in conjunction with all glass partitions help increase energy efficiency through decreased artificial lighting costs. The increased energy efficiency by replacing drywall with glass contributes to the “Daylight and Views” LEED credit while creating a more inviting, open and friendly space for the occupants.

01 - Chopard


Space Efficiency

Space issues are a contributing factor to the popularity of glass office-fronts. Commercial office spaces are not getting less expensive. The use of 3/8” and ½” glass partitions and doors certainly help in the increased efficiency of the floor area being leased. The use of sliding doors also creates useable space behind what used to be the awkward space behind a standard swing door. Sliding doors free the designer to create more utilitarian spaces.

Clean Design

The aesthetic advantages of the new generation of sliding glass doors are another driver of their increased use. Our firm has found that local Miami architects have employed frameless glass products into VERY different design settings with great results. The product need not be relegated to modern design. Perhaps the ambiguous nature of the frameless glass product in itself is what permits the architectural accent walls and other non-glass features to “pop”. An even greater degree of ambiguity can be employed through the concealment of the top header and associated top hung door hardware. The newer sliding glass door systems no longer use bottom tracks. Hiding the top header above the ceiling finish line creates a truly frameless solution.

EoA - Klein Rolmatic & Rollglass Silding Glass Doors

EoA – Klein Rolmatic & Rollglass Silding Glass Doors

Specialty Product Offerings

Manufacturers such as Klein USA offer specialty products not found elsewhere in the market. Self-Closing, Telescopic, Synchronized and Corner doors are all single and multiple-door systems for which architects are quickly finding new and clever uses. Some of these products have the potential to solve space planning issues. A synchronized corner door, for example is a relative newcomer on the market which can take advantage of that awkward corner space never before used for a door. This allows the space planner in circumstances another full wall for more functional use. “I see the very beginning of what may be more widespread use of sliding glass doors at inpatient care centers and medical exam spaces” says Keith Bateman of Dash Door, Miami, FL. “The use of the synchronized sliding corner door system has created more useable space in more than a few medical offices for which we have offered pre-design consultation”.

Unikmatic Corner (2)

Privacy and Monitoring

Lack of privacy is one of the biggest issues associated with the use of glass in interior spacing. There are however, several design options available which help mitigate these issues. Satin-etched, painted and digitally printed / textured products can counter the issues of privacy while maintaining the light and design advantages of glass doors. Many employers prefer the lack of privacy as it allows monitoring of activity, promotes productivity and limits waste of time and resources – all under what is sometimes billed under the guise of a “modern design”.

The STC (Sound Transmission Class) of many glass products depend on variables based on the building environment. There are many glass systems however which can reach an STC of 39 in a single unit. An STC of 39 is equal to that of a typical office solid core wood door where loud speaking can be heard but is not easily discernible. Insulated glass panels in conjunction with such laminated products can reach even higher STC values if needed.

Electrical Switch Glass such as the PrivacyVue™ system provides for opaque glass panels only when desired. The flip of a switch or remote control switches transparent door panels and/or fixed glass into a completely opaque panel. Conference rooms in law offices are the application where this technology is seeing heavy use currently. Even restrooms in restaurants are adopting this application for the “cool factor”.

Custom electromechanical locking options for sliding glass doors have also been developed. Locking options which are concealed in the sliding glass door header are offered by Dash Door’s Access Control Department. These systems offer a frameless glass solution while not compromising privacy in select office spaces. These locking options may be integrated with standard card reading systems and the new generation of mobile phone credentialing apps. Mobile based credentialing is poised to replace key cards in the not so distant future. The new sliding glass door systems are already integrating this technology.

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