The installation of smart glass products is increasing worldwide, as property owners and developers look to integrate new technologies to enhance the overall efficacy of the infrastructure. One of the latest product trends to complement the energy climate initiatives across commercial and residential spaces, smart glass offers features such as automatically adjusting the window tint in response to the outside lighting conditions.
Low-emission glass is not a new concept, but companies involved in glass production are improving upon existing smart technologies to deliver functional control to building occupiers. Also, these companies are being recognized to supply superior quality smart glass solutions for upcoming development projects in emerging economies.
In 2021, SageGlass was chosen by Bagmane Group for the largest smart glass installation in India, providing about 200,000 square feet of SageGlass Harmony electrochromic glass. The Indian team of the company would work with Glass Wall Systems to deploy and commission more than 12,000 panels at Rio Business Park in the city of Bengaluru. It was noted that Google could be the first tenant for the space. Commercial sector applications represent a significant portion of end-users across the global smart glass industry.
Increased energy efficiency opens new ‘windows’ for the use of electrochromic active glass
As per a report by the US Department of Energy, inefficient windows can be responsible for 25% to 30% of energy in buildings being wasted. Besides, the California Energy Commission anticipates that nearly 40% of the cooling demand for a typical building is due to the solar heat gain through windows. In this regard, the demand for dynamic windows with smart glass – electrochromic ones in particular- is gradually surging. EC glass is deemed to be highly effective than the conventional glazing and automatic shading systems in reducing energy consumption and offering enhanced comfort to users.
A lab test by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University revealed that windows implemented with EC glass showed brilliant stability, restricting over 65% of the IR radiation. In yet another research, it was demonstrated that electrochromic glass was able to accomplish the best results in reducing the cooling energy consumption for window area by around 32%. The study represents key information developers could utilize for future renovations or new projects, particularly in countries like Singapore which consists of a strong service sector base which has led to the construction of tall, modern buildings.
Manufacturer efforts to expand smart glass applications among general consumers will also influence the industry trends. For instance, in 2020, Click Materials – a leader in electrochromic glass technology- collaborated with Cardinal Glass Industries to bring the former’s smart window solution to a million North American homes. As per the company claims, Click has developed a proprietary technology that reduces the production costs of EC glass by 60%, making smart windows highly accessible for homeowners while limiting the energy costs and consumption.
Smart glass deployment in the transportation sector
The material is becoming an ideal choice for temperature control and dynamic shading in the transportation sector. Smart glass with suspended particle device (SPD) enables clear views through sunroofs and windows, while reducing solar rays that cause skin damage, glare, and deterioration of interiors.
Owing to the ability to regulate heat, smart glass could allow carmakers to shrink the air conditioning compressors by up to 40%, thereby reducing the weight and overall production cost. This would in turn result in less fuel combustion, prompting companies to incorporate advanced smart glass solutions in vehicles. Gauzy, for instance, established partnership with LG Display to implement smart, transparent, and dynamic displays suitable for different vehicles.
The adoption of smart glass products can also be observed in the railway industry. In June 2022, it was announced that the luxury G-train project will boast of an all-adjustable smart glass exterior. The G-train’s advanced glass, as reported, can change from being completely transparent to opaque, just at the push of a button. When opaque, the train’s interior could be filled with different types of scenery uplifting the mood of the travelers and a sense of comfort.
Meanwhile Memphis International Airport, in 2021, installed windows produced with smart glass as part of the airport’s modernization program that aims to improve passenger experience and accentuate energy-efficiency. The smart windows make use of AI to optimize the amount of natural light and regulates heat and glare. The abovementioned examples do affirm the existing use of the material, but more importantly, they indicate the tremendous potential for the use of smart glass technology across public spaces.
Smart glass technology takes a leap in solar energy applications
Over the years, smart glass deployment has increased in the construction and transportation sectors. However, of late, the demand for glass that generates electricity has unlocked new frontiers for the industry. In a recent breakthrough, NEXT Energy Technologies, along with Walters and Wolf and Bouygues Construction, presented an energy-producing solar coating that converts windowpanes into solar panels. The model features 10 windows supplying an electric battery that drives an interactive display and charging ports for electronics.
Likewise, a research group headed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research introduced a new solar control window technology based on thermochromic smart glass. The glass possesses the ability to change its IR transmittance when hit by incident solar radiation. The proposed solar window concept functions by barring the heat from the sun when outdoor temperatures are extremely high, while absorbing the heat in colder weather.
Glass continues to be a focus of innovation as one of the most used products across infrastructure projects. Advanced technologies like AI can make glass materials suitable for key technological and safety applications. From restricting the entry of UV radiation, offering optimum energy efficiency to passenger comfort in cars, smart glass solutions are now being widely used worldwide. North America is expected to be recognized as one of the leading adopters of smart glass in residential and commercial buildings, propelled by energy initiatives by central governments.
Credit: Source link