It might actually be possible to convince corporations to put smart windows in buildings after scientists at Heliotrope Technologies, in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have developed an inexpensive, energy-efficient glass composite.
The new glass composite has the unprecedented capacity to selectively block the sun’s heat-producing infrared radiation and visible light. Buildings equipped with this type of glass will be more energy-efficient.
Heliotrope just announced that the company has sent samples to glass manufacturers around the country in order to determine the potential for commercial and residential buildings. The company is aiming to make these windows a reality within three years.
The smart glass works so well because its transmittance of solar radiation can be changed at will by applying thermochromic, photochromic, or electrochromic to limit the consumption of energy for lighting and cooling buildings.
Experts estimate that widespread use of the technology might lower energy use in the U.S. by about 5%. Presently, the market for smart glass is very small and is primarily confined to such niche items at tintable rearview mirrors. To date, smart glass has been largely ignored because the upfront costs are high.