With green building becoming a critical part of today’s world, a number of new construction technologies are being developed to keep up with the demand for sustainability. One of such innovation is the smart glass technology.
Smart or switchable glass refers to glass/glazing (typically used for windows) that can alter its light transmission properties through voltage, light, or heat. The technology is activated and controlled by the user, so that with just a simple switch, the glass can transform its visible properties.
Most smart glasses use technologies such as electrochromic, photochromic, thermochromic, suspended particle, micro-blind, and liquid crystal devices to change their states from opaque to transparent and vice-versa. These technologies and devices are integrated into the glass or added onto the glass later. When uses the switch or button on the smart glass is turned on, electricity is applied to the technology within the glass, which then changes the amount of light that the glass lets through.
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These windows show how the glass can be manipulated to control the heat and light entering a room or building. In simpler terms, once the smart glass is activated, it can rapidly change from opaque to transparent in the blink of an eye by either blocking or allowing certain wavelengths of light to pass through the glass.
Smart glass in offices
Smart glass provides efficient utilization of space for office interiors, offering instant privacy on demand at the flick of a switch. As smart glasses are available in custom sizes and shapes, they are ideal for conference rooms, office & boardroom partition screens, doors, sliding/folding doors, windows, and roof-lights. Thus, these glasses offer a sleek and sophisticated interior solution, eliminating the need for curtains/blinds.
Smart glass in homes
Optimum climate control can be achieved without using blinds, shades, or even heating and cooling systems. By controlling the light passing through the glass, the degree of heat can also be manipulated, thus eliminating the need for devices to block sunlight and keep the room cool.
Benefits of using smart glass
Smart windows are low-emittance windows which are coated with metallic oxide to block the sun’s harsh rays during summer and to retain the heat inside doing winter. More than serving the conventional function of windows, low-emittance windows also significantly bring down HVAC costs. Some of the key benefits of smart glass are:
Blocking UV rays
Keeping the house cool
Reducing power consumption and cost
Easy maintenance and cleaning
Another benefit offered by these glasses is that when they are opaque, they can be used as a projection screen.
A lot of people who wish to own a home theater are limited by space. In most homes, the walls that would work as good screening areas are fitted with windows. Self-adhesive smart glass can help convert such walls and windows into projection screens. The same technique can be applied to commercial buildings and offices, where these windows and walls can be used as projection screens for the purpose of making presentations.
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Key players in the smart glass market
One of the largest makers of smart glass is SageGlass, which makes electronically tintable glass that is used mostly in commercial buildings. The company’s smart glass is also expected to help reduce the use of sun-control devices.
SageGlass products works via a ceramic coating that darkens when very low-voltage electricity is applied. When the coating darkens, both light and heat coming into the room are significantly reduced. The glass is typically used for windows, skylights, and curtain walls.
Another smart glass company active into the market is View Inc., which is a startup backed by the glass giant, Corning. View’s Dynamic Glass not only changes its properties automatically based on the light coming through the window, but is also controllable from either a wall switch or a smartphone app.
Drivers for the market
The global smart glass market is estimated to register significant growth rate during the forecast period. Factors that are driving the growth of the global smart glass market include the growing adoption of green initiatives such as eco-friendly and green buildings. Moreover, the increasing demand for smart glasses in the automobile and aviation industry is also fuelling the growth of the global smart glass market. The government support and initiatives all across the world further drive the smart glass market.
The overall size of the smart glass market is expected to reach USD 5.81 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 19.5% between 2015 and 2020.
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