Smart window replacements - control the sun with a switch


01 June 2020

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It seems that we are a culture that loves to fix the word "smart" in the advances of new technologies and there is no shortage of technology that is just that. While these technological advancements often sound more like science fiction, they are becoming increasingly popular and there is no shortage of such advancements for the home. The highlight now is smart glass, which acts as a sunlight switch for the home. Rather than relying on 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 known as switchable glass. Window panes inside smart glass window replacements will dim and light, and how they let light in depends on the style of smart glass you've installed. Some work by pressing a switch to control the tint with adjustments to control the level of opacity.

Other smart replacement windows can work without any manual adjustment, responding to light levels similar to the way treated sunglasses respond to sunlight. This is called photochromic technology. The benefit of using photochromic technology within window replacements is that it does not require manual operation and does not use electricity.

Another system, although a little less popular, are the window panels that do not respond to manual operation or light levels, but are made with thermotropic panels. These replacement windows will dim based on the heat levels read by the glass. The downside to this, as well as photochromic window replacements, is that you have no control over the light level in your home. There is also the problem with the winter months where thermotropic windows are not tinted properly and photochromic technology will act as a radiant barrier that will prevent solar energy from heating the home through replacement windows.

Smart glass enhancement with suspended particle devices

Interchangeable glass replacement windows are not a new technology, they have been on the market for several years and have had a chance to improve. Advancing chemical engineering for smart glass enables improved switching methods for panels that have manual operation. A similar advance is in suspended particle devices where conductive enamel covers glass panels in window replacements. When an electrical current is denied, the elements block the light and remain opaque until a switch is tripped. When the circuit is complete, the particles line up and become transparent, allowing light to pass through.

Liquid crystal replacement windows

The same thing that is found inside the screens on your digital clocks, DVD screens and laptop screens is also placed inside the replacement windows. This works similarly to SPD technology with panels that remain black and white. Add current and the liquid crystal lines up to let the light through. If you remove the current, the window panes solidify.


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