As someone who is always investigating the latest news in home automation, I’ve noticed a lot of people online asking, “How do smart windows work?” “What are the types of smart windows?” Without even realizing it, these people have asked two questions with a number of answers. And that’s a good thing because that means there are multiple options available in the world of smart windows.
Saving energy is a hot topic and, as we all know, heating and air conditioning are responsible for a good chunk of your energy bill. What some people don’t realize is how much your windows have to do with how warm or cold your home is. With smart windows, you can create a more comfortable living environment and cut down on energy.
Let’s look at three types of smart window technology:
Currently, a number of different glass technologies are currently being put to the test, including photochromic, thermochromic, liquid crystal display, and electrochromic. Photochromic glass acts like photosensitive sunglasses – it darkens when it’s light outside. While this keeps a room cool, it also makes it dark. Thermochromic windows darken when the temperature rises. But, like photochromic glass, your windows turn opaque during hot days. LCD windows are simply used for privacy. They don’t block light or provide energy savings. Electrochromic windows are darkened with the application of an electrical current. This is the most advanced option for houses, as it can be used for privacy, to reduce glare, and to cut down on solar heat.
This may sound like the thermochromic window technology, but this is different. Currently still being tested, researchers are attempting to develop a smart window that tints by harvesting energy from wind and rain. It uses this energy to change the color of the window to block out light and heat.
If replacing your home’s windows sounds extreme, you can always tint your windows with a smart window film. Smart Tint® creates films that can be switched from clear to opaque with the click of a button on your smartphone. This could be a great option for offices, especially conference rooms, or just rooms with windows where you want a little more privacy.
And these are just a few of the options out there. Over the next few years, I predict we’ll see major headway in this home automation sector!
Photo by: Megan Cole