Working Mechanism of Smart Windows

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Home renovation

Competing Technologies

Photo credit: Robert Voets/FOX

Smart windows have various technologies that can be used, including thermotropics, photocromics or photochromatics, liquid crystals, suspended particle displays, electrochromics, and reflective hydrides.

Smart windows offer an easy alternative over traditional window treatments as they do not require expensive cleaning, and they can save you money on your power bill. They can block UV radiation, protecting paintings and furnishings in your home or office. They can also reduce the amount of heat entering your house and thereby decrease the need for air conditioning.

By adjusting the electricity flowing to the window, you can control the amount of light that enters the room. Lowering the electricity level reduces the light.

While thermotropic and photochromic technology can be used in smart windows, they are ultimately impractical as energy-saving devices because they cannot be manually controlled. Thermotropic material responds to heat, while photochromic material darkens in response to direct sunlight. Thus, they are not entirely energy-efficient in cold winter months or on cold, sunny days.

Suspended particle devices (SPDs), liquid crystals, and electrochromics are the latest and greatest window technologies that are vying for a share of the estimated 20 billion square feet of flat glass produced worldwide each year. Reflective hydrides are also a close competitor to these technologies.

SPD technology is a popular choice for smart windows.


The hit FOX television show “24” features smart-window technology in Jack Bauer’s office, played by Kiefer Sutherland. Smart-window technology is also used in ambulances, aircraft, homes, cars, and boats.

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1. What are smart windows?

Smart windows are a type of technology that allow for automatic and adjustable control of the amount of light, heat, and glare that enters a building through its windows. These windows can tint or darken in response to changing conditions outside, and can also be controlled manually through devices such as smartphones or voice assistants.

2. What are the benefits of using smart windows?

Smart windows offer a number of benefits, including increased energy efficiency, improved comfort and productivity, and enhanced privacy. By reducing the amount of heat and light that enters a building, they can help to lower energy costs and reduce the need for air conditioning. They can also improve the indoor environment by reducing glare and regulating temperatures, making it easier to work and live comfortably.

3. How do smart windows work?

Smart windows use a variety of technologies to adjust their transparency or tint, including electrochromic, thermochromic, and photochromic materials. These materials respond to changes in voltage, temperature, or light, causing them to darken or lighten as needed. Some smart windows also incorporate sensors that can detect outdoor conditions and adjust the tint accordingly.

4. Are smart windows expensive?

Smart windows can be more expensive than traditional windows, but the cost is decreasing as the technology becomes more widely adopted. In addition to the initial cost of installation, there may be ongoing maintenance or repair costs associated with the technology. However, the energy savings and other benefits that smart windows provide can offset these costs over time.

5. Can smart windows be installed in existing buildings?

Yes, smart windows can be retrofitted to existing buildings, although the process may be more complex and expensive than installing them in new construction. The installation process may involve removing the existing windows and frames, and retrofitting the building to accommodate the new technology.

6. Are there any downsides to using smart windows?

One potential downside of smart windows is that they may require more maintenance and repairs than traditional windows, due to the complexity of the technology. In addition, some users may find the automatic adjustments to be distracting or uncomfortable. Finally, there is a risk that the technology may malfunction or fail, causing the windows to become stuck in a dark or opaque state.

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