While glass is not an outdated material, there have been many recent advancements in its uses. Recently, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin have developed a way to electronically tint glass windows through the use of a new flexible material. Their goal, to be allow indoor occupants to be able to control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, is being met by their development of dual-band electrochromic materials.
This innovation is different from other smart windows because this new material can be attached to plastic, rather than the actual glass, giving it the flexibility to be attached to already existing glass of any shape or size. By applying this film to buildings, the tenants would be able to lower their use of electricity by controlling the amount of sunlight does, or does not enter the building, therefore reducing heating and cooling bills.
As the researchers’ advancements continue they have been able to add new properties to the flexible material. Their most current breakthrough is a characteristic that hits home for us Minnesotans; a warm mode that allows near-infrared light to enter, but emits the ability for visible light to be blocked. “This new setting could be most useful on a sunny winter day, when an occupant would want infrared radiation to pass into a building for warmth, but the glare from sunlight to be reduced.”
University of Texas at Austin : http://www.engr.utexas.edu/news/7986-smarter-window-materials
Image Source: http://materia.nl/article/new-low-cost-flexible-smart-window-material/