You can see through it. Then, all of a sudden, you can’t
Right before your eyes, the glass transforms and that room with the see-through glass walls suddenly becomes completely private.
You’ve just witnessed smart glass window panes in action. Also called switchable glass, this new technology allows you to transform glass from transparent to opaque at the push of a button.
You’ve probably seen it in movies and thought it was cool, but most likely gimmicky. I’m sure you also thought it must be expensive.
Actually, it is surprisingly affordable and it works well. It can be gimmicky, if you install it just to show off. But if you actually need to be able to change the walls of a room from transparent to opaque, it is not gimmicky at all. It is an incredible new technology. Let’s take a closer look.
Switchable Smart Glass: All About This New Technology
The use of technology to protect a business or home isn’t a new thing.
Alarms and CCTV cameras have been on the scene for years but new innovations, such as ‘smart’ objects, are taking the tech home protection scene to a whole other level.
Smart glass windows are a newcomer to the property scene. Read on and discover what they are and why you should be using them.
What is ‘smart glass’?
We all know about smartphones, smart TVs, and smart watches, but smart windows? It may sound far fetched but smart windows are rising through the ranks thanks to their ability to dramatically improve the security and efficiency of a building.
Smart glass windows can turn from their standard transparency to dark opaque at the flip of a switch. They hide you from unwanted attention, excess heat and bright lights almost instantly. So how do they work?
The inside of your smart window is coated with several layers of metal-oxide. When an electric current is passed across it, the coating turns opaque, blocking out the light. It’s what scientists like to call ‘electrochromic‘ technology, and it’s catching on fast.
Several famous and prestigious building have already started using smart glass in their windows, like San Francisco’s trendy W Hotel.
Here are a few reasons you should consider using them.
Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning
Installing and running an air conditioning unit can be incredibly costly and is almost enough to make you want to brave the sweltering heat.
The transparency of your windows acts like a greenhouse, letting light through and warming up your room. Smart glass will block 99.5% of UV rays, so you can avoid sun damage to your skin and feeling like you’re in an oven!
Although you can try pulling the drapes or letting the blinds down, a room can often feel oppressive with large swathes of fabric blocking out the light. They can be fiddly, fussy and also prevent you from being about to see outside.
Neaten the look of your home or office and ditch the drapes for smart glass. It reflects back the majority of the light shining on it to help reduce heat and light inside. Save money on your energy bill? Love it!
Protects Your property
Although surveillance cameras will always be one of the most popular methods of protection, smart glass offers you a new alternative. If you’re on a tight budget, it might be just what you need.
Shading your office or home from prying eyes means that thieves are less likely to spot anything valuable inside.
Smart glass also acts as a deterrent to criminals because they aren’t able to see inside and identify additional security precautions you’ve taken. There could be cameras or security guards hidden behind the opaque panes–who knows!
If you’ve taken the trouble to tint your windows, you’re sending a message that you value security. This in itself is often enough to discourage anyone from trying their luck.
Smart Glass Can Be Controlled Long-Distance
Smart glass windows can be fitted with sensors that cause them to trigger automatically when the sun comes out. This can save your furniture from being sun bleached when you’re away from home.
You also have the option to control your windows from a smart device, so you get instant, on-demand privacy. It’s like being able to draw the drapes without having to get off the couch or stop what you’re doing.
This is particularly useful during vacations and out-of-office hours—police agencies recommend making it look like someone is home to avoid break-ins. Smart glass shields your property from prying eyes or harsh sunlight even when you aren’t there.
If that wasn’t enough, there are some companies that offer the option to integrate your smart window functionality with lighting and other domestic appliances.
You’ll have the option to synchronize the running of your environment to make it energy efficient, as well as comfortable to be in. Remote access to your home is a great way to make it look like you’re home when you’re not. It’s perfect for when you’re on vacation.
Energy Efficient Smart Glass
Did you know that your windows are responsible for 50% of the total energy consumption in your building?
You can save an average of 23% on lighting, electricity, ventilation and heating during peak times by installing smart glass instead of regular glass.
The energy benefits don’t stop there! Compared to standard glass, smart windows are 70% more energy efficient in summer and 45% more efficient during winter. They’re great for helping to cut down your energy bills while being kind to the planet.
Although we’re not quite there yet, the future of smart glass windows looks energy efficient.
Innovators are exploring the option of having the glass absorb sunlight to re-use via a battery pack later on, further saving on running costs. Stay tuned for even more technological advances in this area.
Makes Your Interior More Stylish
There’s nothing more stylish than large, floor to ceiling windows in a home or office building. They create space, light, atmosphere and treat you to some utterly stunning views.
The only trouble with statement windows is that you need an impossibly large set of drapes or roller blinds if you’re going to maintain your privacy.
Opting for smart glass in your windows means you can keep the stylish edge that large windows bring to your decor, without drapes ruining it. Clean, crisp and minimal, your property will retain all the drama without any of the cost or inconvenience.
In the future, smart glass is set to be even more customizable, with shapes, partial shading and patterns making their way onto the market. This means you can shape sunbeams and play with the light in your space, for added architectural impact.
Smart Glass Window Panes Are Easy To Clean
Cleaning windows is time-consuming and can be expensive. Because smart glass windows don’t need blinds or drapes, you’ll be saved the trouble of cleaning yards of fussy fabrics or dusting railings.
Smart windows also don’t get as dirty as regular windows, so all you’ll need to do is give them a quick dusting and you’re done! This is especially good for homes with a lot of windows or buildings that feature large statement windows.
Whether you’re in it for the style, the protection or the energy savings, you have to admit that smart glass windows offer an impressive range of benefits.
If you have a small budget, consider some dummy security cameras, which will aid in deterring burglars. All these things in tandem will result in keeping your home safe. There is home protection available for any budget.
Smart Glass Window Panes: Your Thoughts
The way of the future, or a gimmick? What brands are you looking at? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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