What is Smart Glass?

What is Smart Glass?

Smart glass lets its users optimize the views in their homes and businesses. Offering both privacy and cost-saving benefits, this special glass is minimalistic, innovative and creative. Using special technology, smart glass reduces the need for blinds and curtains and can instantly darken or lighten a room by remote access. Here’s what you need to know about smart glass.

What is Smart Glass?

Smart glass is a specialty glass that changes based on the external temperature or by remote control. It lets users manually or automatically control light, heat, and glare in their rooms. With the ability to go from clear to dark in seconds, smart glass is suitable for residential and commercial use. The innovative design makes it popular for use in hospitals, showrooms, and boardrooms as room dividers or for privacy.

Major Benefits of Smart Glass

  • Glare-reducing
  • Block harmful UV rays
  • Self-tinting capabilities
  • Increase energy-savings
  • Cost-efficient
  • Prevents discoloration of furniture and flooring

Additionally, smart glass eliminates the need for blinds, drapes and curtains reducing the amount of dust in the home. This can in turn relieve allergy symptoms.

Types of Smart Glass

Different manufacturers make smart glass and it comes in distinct types. A few common styles include electrochromic, nanocrystal and polymer-dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC).

Electrochromic Glass

When it’s electrochromic, smart glass stays in an opaque state until an electric charge moves it to clear or semi-clear. Depending on the manufacturer and any custom smart glass requirements, the glass may include layers of polycrystalline tungsten oxide or lithium cobalt oxide. Aligning special liquid crystals in the glass can create a transparent look by increasing or decreasing the opacity.

When a user presses a remote feature, the voltage causes the ions to migrate. This can help create transparent (pass-through, clear) light or reflective light (semi-transparent, opaque).

Nanocrystal

A common misconception is that smart glass is 100% glass. However, in some cases, it’s a substrate of different plastic films. This type of smart glass uses nanocrystals made from indium tin oxide. Added to plastic films, these sit between two layers of glass. When used in this capacity, the glass blocks visible light and infrared heat for optimal heating and lighting control.

Learn More: Heliotrope Technologies

PDLC Glass

When smart glass works with PDLC technology, instead of using ions, liquid crystals dissolve into a special polymer. The glass can then switch from one light setting to the next.

Once applied to a plastic substrate, the manufacturer can inject lithium ions in between glass panes. The liquid crystals are similar to an LCD screen and without a voltage, the crystals can randomly block light. With a voltage, the crystals align together to block the passage of light.

How Much Does Smart Glass Cost?

Pricing for smart glass can vary. An incentive with purchasing this type of glass is you might expect a 20% savings in energy costs.

Depending on a room’s size, smart glass can cost thousands of dollars for custom-designed glass. However, for smaller spaces, it might run $50-100 per square foot. By way of comparison, regular glass might cost $10-15 per square foot.

If cost is a factor, home or business owners might consider a smart film, self-adhesive film or smart tint for their windows.

Should I Get Smart Glass for My Home?

If you are trying to achieve a very particular look and want privacy that doesn’t come from blinds or curtains smart glass is an option for you. Before investing in smart glass consider the consult with a smart glass expert and weigh the cost vs value of the product and installation.

How Do I Get Smart Glass for My Windows?

Maybe you're thinking about floor-to-ceiling windows for your next home. Or, you want to create custom room dividers in your current space. Speak with a smart glass consultant or contractor. They can work with your living or workspace to help you create a responsive glass that’s adaptable to your specific needs. Your best bet for finding a trust-worthy smart glass pro is to reach out to those recommended by the manufacturer. Quality contractors and dealers are often listed on the vendor’s website under a “Dealer Locator” page or similar.  

Instant Privacy and Optimized Lighting...At the Flick of a Switch

Switchable smart glass is an innovative product that can transform any room from transparent to opaque. The flick of a remote is all it takes to darken smart glass or let natural light flood your spaces. Letting more natural light in can boost mood and reduce allergens (no dusty drapes, blinds). Smart glass is also cost-saving and can lower energy costs by 20%. Revitalize your living and workspaces today and never miss a sunrise or sunset again! If smart glass isn't for you but you're interested in high-performance insulated glass windows, reach out to a trusted window dealer for assistance. 

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