We seem to be a culture that loves to fix the word “smart” into new technology advancements and there’s no shortage of tech that is just that. While these tech advancements often sound more like science fiction, they’re growing every popular and there’s no shortage of these types of advancements for the home. The most prominent now is smart glass – which acts like a solar light switch for the home. Instead of relying in window treatments to block light this advanced replacement window automatically controls the level of light penetration into the home.
How does Smart Glass Work
Smart glass is often referred to as switchable glass. The windowpanes within smart glass window replacements will dim and brighten – and how they allow light through depends on the style of smart glass you have installed. Some work by flipping a switch to control the tint with adjustments to control the level of opacity.
Other smart replacement windows can operate without any manual adjustment, responding to light levels similar to the way treated sunglasses respond to sunlight. This is called photochromic technology. The benefit to the use of photochromic tech within your window replacements is that it requires no manual operation and uses no electricity.
Another system – though slightly less popular – are window panes that do not response to manual operation or light levels but instead are made with thermotropic panes. These replacement windows will dim according to the heat levels that are read by the glass. The downside to this as well as photochromic window replacements is that you have no control over the level of light in your home. There’s also the problem with winter months where thermotropic windows won’t tint properly and photochromic technology will act as a radiant barrier preventing solar energy from heating the home through the replacement windows.
Improving Smart Glass with Suspended Particle Devices
Switchable glass replacement windows isn’t a new technology, it’s been on the market for several years and has had the opportunity to be improved upon. The advancement of chemical engineering for smart glass allows improved switching methods on panes that have manual operation. A similar advancement is in suspended particle devices where a conductive glaze covers the panes of glass in window replacements. When denied an electrical current the elements block the light and remain opaque until a switch is tripped. When the circuit completes the particles line up and become transparent, allowing light to pass through.
Liquid Crystal Replacement Windows
The same stuff that’s found within the displays in your digital clocks, DVD displays and laptop screens is also put inside of replacement windows. This works similarly to SPD technology with panes remaining black and white. Add current and the liquid crystal aligns to let light pass through. If you remove the current the window panes go solid.
Why Advanced Technology for Window Replacements?
If you can get the same effect by hanging curtain, why invest in technologically advanced (and often expensive) window replacements? Unlike traditional drapes and blinds which allow solar energy through no matter how well they’re closed, smart window replacements are designed to dramatically minimize heat gain – and you’ll never have to vacuum or wash your smart glass. The electrical use of the window replacements is minimal and often covered by the utility savings. A smart choice for any window replacement project you have on your home improvement list.