Smart Glass: Enjoy Your Windows, Lower Your Bills
If you’ve always wanted to enjoy the beauty of giant windows, but dreaded the sun-baked, overheated rooms, high energy bills, and total lack of privacy that would come with them, you might have considered motorized shades. That’s an excellent option, and motorized shades have never been more stylish and technologically advanced. But if shades aren’t your style, you have another option—several of them, in fact. It’s time to learn a bit about smart glass.
Also called electrochromic glass, switchable glass and dynamic glass, smart glass is a unique kind of glass or glazing over standard glass. Smart glass has several layers of super-fine metal oxide coatings that cause the glass to turn opaque and reflect light when a certain amount of heat energy passes through them and, when less of that energy is present, to turn clear again. This change can be initiated by light sensors or by using controls on your home automation system.
The benefits of this technology are clear. According to the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), computer simulations of building performance have shown that electrochromic windows:
- Reduce electricity consumption for cooling by up to 49 percent;
- Lower peak electrical power demand by up to 16 percent; and
- Decrease lighting costs by up to 51 percent.
If all of this sounds interesting, then you’ll be happy to hear that you have options. Several smart glass companies offer products that you can use to realize some of these benefits, along with a more comfortable home or office and greater privacy.
SageGlass. This is the largest of the smart glass companies and one of the technology’s pioneers. SageGlass created the world’s first fully automated electronically tintable glass and, several years ago, partnered with lighting control leader Lutron to create an advanced dynamic glass system that could be integrated with lighting controls and motorized window shade systems. The company’s glass comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors and has proven its durability in tests with third-party evaluators, including the US Department of Energy. The windows can be automated, so that you can enjoy all the benefits of smart glass without having to think about it, or controlled via traditional switches or mobile app.
Innovative Glass. This company makes several dynamic glass solutions, including SPD SmartGlass, a glazing technology that changes from soft blue to a dark blue tint, giving the home owner the ability to "tune" the amount of light and glare streaming through a window or skylight, as well as to increase privacy when needed. Rather than just providing opaque and clear options, SPD SmartGlass has an infinitely adjustable tint level is infinitely adjustable and allows a very wide dynamic light transmission range (can block out over 99.5% of Light Transmission in its off state), which enables you nearly instant control over heat gain.
View Glass. This company’s dynamic glass allows for unobstructed views while reducing heat and glare. View Glass integrates with smarthome or building management systems via iOS or Android devices, allowing you to control the exact tint of your each window individually from anywhere in the world. These systems can also be programmed to control the window tint automatically based on the building’s design, location, orientation and the time of day. View Glass is currently available only for commercial projects, but residential availability could be coming soon.
If you want to enjoy your indoors and the view of your outdoors without obstruction or worry, not to mention lower your bills at the same time, smart glass might be your favorite new smarthome technology. Call us at Jackson Hole AV to discuss the possibilities.