Dynamic Glass Controlled by Your Smart Phone
View, a company headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, has developed glass that can can change its tint in response to changes in an electrical control voltage. The technology promises to do away with the need for curtains and blinds and save up to 23% of the energy spent on lighting, heating and cooling during peak demand.
View says its Dynamic Glass starts by treating one pane of window glass with an electrochromic metal oxide coating one fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. Then thin conductive strips similar to those used to heat the rear window of a car are bonded to the coating. That pane of glass then becomes the exterior component of a double or triple pane window. Depending on the voltage applied to those strips, the coating can take on four different stages of tint. Voltage changes can be applied to all the windows on one side of a building or to individual windows using a programmable thermostat. It can even be controlled remotely via a smart phone.
To date, View has supplied its Dynamic glass windows to 120 projects from schools and universities to hospitals and some private homes. The company claims that hospital patients in a room fitted with Dynamic Glass recover up to 20% faster and that students in rooms with more daylight score higher in math and reading tests.
View is one of 6 companies working on glass that can adjust its opacity as need, including SageGlass in Minnesota, which is owned by French building materials group Saint Gobain. View’s CEO, Rao Malpuri, says competition is not his company’s biggest problem. Static thinking is. “Our ‘competition’ is risk aversion. People saying ‘Great technology. I will do it in my next building.’ is the most common reason we get a ‘no’ because people are afraid of the change and nobody ever gets fired for using regular windows with blinds and shades because that is what the rest of the town is doing,” he says.
Of course, cost is also a factor. Dynamic Glass costs significantly more than regular glass or, even advanced, multi-pane energy-efficient windows. Even though that extra cost will be repaid many times over by energy savings during the lifetime of a building, owners are reluctant to make the extra investment against the promise of future benefits. But with over 25 billion square feet of architectural glass installed every year worldwide, View needs only a small portion of the market to be successful.
Malpuri thinks that Europe will be most receptive to using Dynamic Glass since attitudes there are more oriented toward conservation and regulations are more in favor of energy efficiency. He also thinks the company’s technology will find other uses in transportation and electronics.
How Dynamic Glass Works