Have Your Heard of Smart Glass?

Have Your Heard of Smart Glass?

Also known as magic, or switchable glass, smart glass is becoming a popular choice for architectural glazing projects.

The material can change its properties when heat, light, or electricity are applied to it. It’s currently being used in windows, skylights, doors, and architectural glazing in both residential and commercial buildings to help cut heating, lighting, and air conditioning costs. It’s certainly a miracle material for energy efficiency.

Smart glass is designed to transform light and adjust heat ingress based on external environmental conditions. As it gets darker out, the glass becomes more and more transparent to let as much natural light in as possible. In full daylight, the glass blocks most of the sun’s rays from entering the building, thereby reducing A/C requirements. Buildings with smart glass have less need for motorized light screens or curtains.

It’s no wonder then that the market for smart glass is big ($2.81 billion in 2016) and getting bigger fast.

The biggest driver of smart glass adoption is energy efficiency, both due to the impressive cost savings and new environmental regulations put in place across the United States. Some states are even offering incentives to integrate smart glass into building designs as part of broader energy conservation efforts.

Here’s How Smart Glass Works:

The most common type of smart glass is Suspended Particle Devices (SPD) Electrochromic. This material can be tuned manually or automatically to control the light and heat entering a building. Using this kind of smart glass can result in big savings on electricity bills. It can also help reduce glare for building occupants looking outside, which is why this material is also often used in windshields.

Electrochromic glass works via the electrochromism principle, whereby materials change color or opacity when an electric charge is applied. SPDs are composed of a thin film of nano-scale particles suspended in a liquid placed between two pieces of glass. When no voltage is applied to the material, the particles remain randomly organized, blocking and absorbing light. But when a voltage is applied, the particles align and let light pass through. The orientation of the particles, and therefore the opacity of the glazing, can be adjusted by varying the voltage.

Adoption of this material has been particularly high for tall buildings in high-temperature areas, such as Middle East. But North America had a 35% market share in 2016.

Interestingly, you might also start to see this same material in consumer electronics like smartphones. But smart glass is already making big waves in the architectural glazing industry.

So when you’re choosing the right glass material for your next glazing project, don’t forget to check out smart glass.

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Primary keyword: smart glass
Secondary keywords: smart glazing products