Smart Windows

By: Dave Hartman

Windows are a great way to allow natural light and fresh air into your building; they can even be used as a design element, enhancing the building’s curb appeal. Access to natural light has even been shown to improve employee health and morale. Unfortunately, in terms of energy loss, windows are basically a big hole in the wall; you might think about it like leaving the refrigerator door open. Fortunately, technological advances have allowed us to manufacture ever larger expanses of windows while at the same time reducing the energy loss through that glass. Examples of window pane technology: reflective glass, window film, thermal breaks (multiple panes) and Low-E glass.

Even with all the technological advances, there is always room for improvement. Introducing the next evolution: Smart Glass. Smart glass utilizes a small amount of electrical current to activate, or “line up” the liquid crystal (suspended particles), which act as an “instant” film that serves to block the UV radiation that enters through the window. Some enterprising systems even allow for the user to instantly adjust the light levels through the use of a switch.

Smart windows offer the advantages of: lower overall electrical use and better light control over traditional draperies, roller shades or blinds. You may even consider eliminating window treatments entirely!

For more information on how smart windows work, visit this link:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/green/smart-window.htm

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