A couple of decades back, solar panels were considered the height of green technology and innovation. The concept of panels that could harness the power of the sun to power households was revolutionary, and the actual invention proved to live up to the hype. Now, smart glass windows have come to light as the latest in smart green technology, and the concept behind these practical, functional window panes is just as revolutionary.
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What is Smart Glass Windows?
Smart glass windows are made from (as you may have guessed) smart glass, which is glass that changes from transparent to translucent to even opaque, depending on the voltage, light, or heat applied. Smart glass windows are also called ‘switchable windows’ because of the way the glass switches its light transmission properties.
Theoretically, smart glass windows can turn translucent or opaque during noon, when the light and heat from the sun are considerably very intense. Later, around mid-afternoon, they can then automatically switch back to transparent to let natural light filter in. In the evening, when everyone has left the office, and they’re powered down, they can switch back to opaque.
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What are Some Practical Uses of Smart Glass Windows?
In the long run, smart glass windows are the more economical and environmentally-sound choice. Their ability to adapt to specific climate and temperature changes means more refined, more efficient temperature and light control in the building. Ergo, the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting the interior is significantly lowered.
In cases of cold weather, smart glass windows may stay opaque, ultimately trapping the heat from your central heating system inside the house. When there is enough sunlight outside, the glass changes to full transparency to allow the natural light and heat to seep in. The natural heat radiating through the glass reduces the heating system’s workload. When the temperature drops again, the glass instantly shifts back to solid opacity.
Inversely, in cases of hot weather, the principle of the glass’s translucence and opacity is the same. If it’s too hot outside, smart glass window glaze over, preventing any more of the sun’s rays from penetrating the building. The more heat there is inside, the harder the air conditioning unit must work to keep the temperature cool.
As the window is climate-controlled, the glass will only switch back to full transparency once it deems the temperature outside manageable.
Smart glass windows can judge sunlight intensity. If it’s just right, the glass will allow the natural light to filter in, eliminating the need to turn on all the office lights. If it’s too bright, it can turn translucent to block the worst of the glare. Some smart glass windows use blackout smart glass technology, which enables them to prevent 99.4% of harmful ultraviolet light successfully.
Perhaps the only real downside to smart glass windows would be acquisition and installation costs. Given the level of technology and the fine-tuned components to keep it working, they are understandably not cheap. Some smart glass window can cost anywhere between $500 to $1000 per window—and that’s before installation fees.
However, smart glass windows are a sound investment. They’re generally durable and highly dependable. And as mentioned, they can pay for themselves overtime through savings on your utility bills. For businesses looking for ways to keep their building environmentally friendly without sacrificing general comforts, smart glass windows are the definite answer.