New “Smart” Windows Check the Weather for You
We all know that keeping your air conditioner humming all day can really end up costing you when your energy bill arrives.
But did you know that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that one-third of a building’s cooling costs come directly from all the solar heat penetrating your windows?
Well, there is a little known product already out there that addresses that issue. It’s one of the latest breakthroughs in energy saving technology called “smart” glass.
Basically, the smart glass is installed in place of a traditional window. Consumers can switch between having the glass either transparent or translucent, depending on their need.
In the summer, you can darken the glass to save on air conditioning costs. And in the winter, you can make it transparent to capture more sunlight and cut your heating bill.
So far, the likely roadblocks to widespread commercial adoption are the required maintenance and its heavy price tag.
But that’s why researchers at a South Korean lab developed a newer version of the glass. It’s cheaper and “smarter” than anything else on the market today.
Put simply, researchers from Korea Electronic Technology Institute and Soongsil University have harnessed the power of charged ions to gain the desired light-tuning effect. This allow the windows to automatically react to weather conditions and change transparency levels in mere seconds whenever necessary.
No more need to manually adjust the levels on every window in your house, one at a time from a control panel.
This upgraded smart glass uses a mixture of a polymer, methanol and “counterions” to create a functional smart glass alternative that’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly and more stable than current methods.
Best of all, researchers say the cost of the new smart glass is significantly less than anything currently available. So once this technology hits the mass market, get ready for energy costs to be reduced across the world.