An article by Paul Batistelli, eco-business.com.
Windows are a key component to any building’s design, so it’s only fitting that they are also an essential part of new strategies to improve energy efficiency. Windows impact the form and function of all rooms, and due to the heat transferred through the glass, windows have a significant impact on heating and cooling costs.
Thankfully, a relatively new technology called smart glass allows architects to save energy without compromising design. As building codes around the United States increase demand for greener designs, smart glass windows have become less of a niche market technology and more of a product appealing to a variety of customers within the building sector.
Smart glass windows can automatically change their tint based on outdoor temperature and lighting conditions. This improves comfort levels for those inside the building and increases energy efficiency. For example, a heavy tint during summer months can reduce heat transfer from sunlight, reducing the need for cooler air conditioning.
The key feature of smart windows is a thin ceramic coating, which when activated by an electrical current will tint the glass. Though this process requires electricity, it is minimal when compared to the heating and cooling costs that can be saved. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, powering about 100 windows worth of smart glass would require less power than a 75-watt light bulb.
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