“Smart windows conserve building energy by switching from clear to tinted, dynamic controlling heat and light from the sun, depending on the building and occupants’ needs.”
It has been shown that conventional windows waste a third of all energy used to heat, ventilate and air condition buildings. Smart window technology offers a chance for both landlords and owners to reduce energy losses. One of the primary challenges left to help incorporate the windows into mainstream markets is obtaining a price reduction on production, materials, and chemistry required to create window pains. Smart windows currently cost between $500 and $1,000-per-square-meter to create. Smart windows can be manufactured without high temperature or vacuum equipment that are currently used.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a simple, cost-effective technique for making smart windows. “Wei Cheng, who led this project as part of his postdoctoral work at UBC, found a new way to make glass materials that change colour in response to electricity, building on a technique co-developed in Berlinguette's lab. Cheng's method deposits a liquid solution containing a metal ion onto glass and then uses ultraviolet light to transform it into a film that coats the glass. The film is completely transparent but becomes blue when electricity passes through, ultimately creating the active component of a smart window. Our technique creates a uniform dynamic coating without the need for special instrumentation. Another advantage of our method is that it is compatible with many different metals and it is scalable. We are excited to potentially fine-tune the dynamic properties of the materials to improve performance even further and make large windows for commercial use.”
The windows are currently in a longevity testing phase. “Commercial windows need to last many years, and we need to prove our windows can do the same.”
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