Recently, concerns over energy consumption have increased significantly, particularly in the United States. Because of this, researchers have begun to create new ways to save energy, mainly through low-power-consuming technologies such as smart windows. Smart windows allow consumers to block light by simply pressing a button. This can help save hundreds of dollars on lighting, cooling, and heating costs. They also save you money because you don’t need to install curtains, blinds, or motorized light screens. Smart windows have the added benefit of blocking ultraviolet light, which helps prevent fabrics and textiles from fading.

Products Available

Smart windows are a relatively new type of technology and have only recently become available commercially. Many companies produce an adhesive which can be applied directly on the glass surface. Smart Tint, for example, has two types: self adhesive and non adhesive. The adhesive version is installed very easily using Smart Cling self adhesive backing, while the non-adhesive model uses a 3M double-sided clear tape, which is included with the product. InvisiShade also produces self-adhesive electronic privacy film. They also manufacture smart glass, however, in a variety of different tints and colors. Vario produces four different types of smart glass: Vario Privacy, which is a smart glass that serves as a privacy screen or electronic blind, offering instant privacy; Vario Sun, which is a dynamic, self-darkening glass that gradually transforms in the presence of heat and sunlight to provide protection from ultraviolet rays and excessive sun glare; Vario Sky, which allows you to manually control how much heat, glare, and light pass through a window; and Vario TV, which looks like a decorative mirror but once activated becomes an impressive HDTV.

Pros & Cons

Smart windows help save a significant amount of energy. With normal windows, heat and light pass through, which tends to increase the amount that you use your air conditioner in the summer and furnace in the winter. Using smart windows allows you to darken window glass, eliminating heat and light from the outside. Thus, it saves you a significant amount of money on energy bills. It also offers you tremendous privacy without having to buy blinds or curtains. There are a few drawbacks, however. Although they do help you save money, smart windows are pricey. Some versions also take several minutes to switch between dark and transparent, while others require electricity to remain transparent, which could potentially be a problem during power outages.

Price Range

Smart windows tend to be very expensive, especially since they are a new type of technology. RavenWindow, which uses flexible thermochromic technology, sells its product for about $25 per square foot. Thus, outfitting a window that is twenty square feet will cost around $500. Smart windows generally have a high initial cost, but the investment is repaid in savings. To replace twenty windows with RavenWindows, for example, would cost approximately $10, 000-but if the windows save you a minimum of $1,000 a year in energy costs, it will only take you 10 years for the windows to pay for themselves.