The Skinny on ‘Smart Windows’ and Managing Electricity Demands

Related Articles

Thermostats, appliances and TVs are all getting “smarter” every day. But did you know windows are, too?

Technology makes many things in your home work better and more efficiently – including your windows. “Smart windows” aim to help homeowners manage one of the most important functions of windows: light.

Traditionally, you dress windows in blinds, drapes or curtains and open or close those treatments depending on how much outside light you want. Sunlight can help reduce your need for artificial light – and the electricity needed to light our homes. But too much sunlight can raise indoor temperatures, causing your A/C to work harder and increasing your electricity bills. So how do you keep your home well lit without driving up your electricity costs?

That’s where smart windows come in.

These windows are special in that they come with “switchable glazings,” which can control the amount of solar heat or visible light that the window allows through. An electrical current, passed through the glass, affects chemicals in the glazing that change its properties. Some are manually-controlled (with a switch or remote control) and others respond automatically to environmental changes (functioning similar to transition lenses on eyeglasses.)

While the technology is just beginning to take off, its potential applications range from tinted windows in home to translucent projection screens in your office, and may even one day have its application in your car. Smart windows promise to be one more way technology can help you conserve electricity and save on your utility bills.