Smart Glass has recently gained popularity for its design, style, comfort and versatility, making it more and more common in modern homes and apartments. In addition to style, it offers energy savings which can make up for the higher installation costs in the long run. To learn more about this unique tech, its benefits, types and uses, we’ve created this comprehensive guide.
What is Smart Glass?
Smart Glass is a type of glass that changes its properties when external factors, like heat or electricity are applied to it. The majority of smart glass used today is active, which means electric charge can be applied to change its properties.
In the absence of an external electric charge, the particles inside the glass are scattered randomly, making it difficult for light to pass through them, resulting in opaque or translucent material (this is not true for some types but more on that later). Once an electric charge is applied, the particles are polarized and align themselves in a structure, making it possible for light to pass through and resulting in transparency.
Significance of Different Types
While the basic principle is the same, optical properties of different types of smart glass vary, and hence their uses vary. For example, PDLC glass has liquid crystals, which can turn completely opaque, making it ideal for privacy. Liquid polymer also reacts very quickly to electric charge, which means PDLC glass switches from opaque to clear within milliseconds.
SPD glass, on the other hand, has solid particles suspended in liquid between two layers to create a film. This glass does not turn completely opaque, so it's used in exterior settings, such as sky-facing windows. Solid particles are also more effective at blocking heat, so this glass can moderate the amount of heat that passes through it.
We’ll discuss types of smart glass later, too, but these examples will give you an idea of how smart glass operates.
Benefits of Smart Glass
Smart glass has many uses and benefits in your home. One of its main benefits is its ability to reduce your energy costs. Because you can turn your windows opaque, they won’t let light through in the summer. That can significantly reduce the money you spend on cooling.
Similarly, during winters, you can use sunlight to warm up to your preferred temperature using smart glass. Of course, this can be accomplished with curtains and drapes, but not remotely, nor as efficiently.
Privacy & Security
With smart glass on your windows, you don’t need to rely on curtains or blinds for privacy. Privacy is an especially pressing concern when you live on a busy street or in an area where people that pass by can peak into your windows.
Smart glass can make your windows opaque without obscuring the view. Nobody can see inside. In some houses or apartments in multi-story buildings, windows that are hard to reach are always either covered or open. But with smart glass, you can switch them according to your comfort and privacy needs.
Easy to clean
The electrochromic glazing that is applied to your windows doesn’t require any special cleaning or maintenance. Clean your windows the way you would normal windows. You don’t need to clean them more often or use any special cleaning agent. The maintenance and use of smart glass are the same as regular glass.
UV & IR protection
Smart glass blocks 95% of UV rays, so you don’t need to wear sunblock even on the sunniest days. It also makes the atmosphere in the house more pleasant without the need for blinds or curtains. You can get natural light without the radiation in the invisible spectrum.
Smart glass is widely used in the automotive sector for windows, sunroofs, and rearview mirrors. In your home, smart glass can protect you from the eyes of strangers on the street when you need some privacy. It can protect your home from intruders, as they can’t see whether anyone is home or not.
Smart glass can also serve as a projection screen! Use it with a video projector and watch movies in your living room or bedroom. All you need to do is set up the projector to face the window.
Types of Smart Glass
SPD smart glass technology allows you to control the level of light you’d like to let in. With SPD smart glass technology, you get an immediate response from your windows. It takes up to three seconds on average to switch from transparent to opaque, no matter the size of the glass. In addition to speed and dynamic coloring, this type of smart glass is dimmable, which makes for a more versatile and precise option.
You can use this type of smart glass for windows, doors, roofs, skylights, and more. The glass you choose will depend entirely on your demands.
PDLC smart glass refers to Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals. This technology can be used in smart windows, consumer electronics, glass displays, and more.
Like SPD, PDLC glass is also switched with the application of voltage, however, the difference lies in speed and light passing capabilities. PDLC glass takes a bit more time to switch than SPD, and the time increases with the increase in the size of the glass. Exact figures will depend on the particular area of the window.
However, PDLC has 80 % light transmittance, making it better for privacy and projection when opaque. SPD has 99% transmittance which is good for custom shading, but not for security.
Electrochromic glass is also referred to simply as smart glass or dynamic glass. This type of glass also uses minute electrical signals to change its properties, however, it offers a wider range of heat-blocking capabilities than the other two types.
For this reason, it is quite common to use this type of glass in high-rise apartments and offices or schools, universities, and commercial buildings. Electrochromic glass is a bit more expensive, though.
Smart Glass for Home
Smart glass has many uses in homes and other residential spaces. If you’re considering smart glass for your home, it can help you make your living space more comfortable. In addition to that, it can give your interior designer more freedom and allow innovation into your home. Here are the benefits of smart glass for houses:
Benefits in your home
Smart glass can adjust to your space and requirements. Select any shape and size, and it will be delivered to you. With smart glass technology, you no longer need to rely on manual blinds or curtains for privacy. Flick the switch when you feel like it and nobody from the outside will see inside!
Where can it be installed?
Smart glass can be installed virtually anywhere in your home where you have some form of glass. Think windows, skylights, doors, glass walls, and so on.
Smart Glass for Bathroom
Bathrooms require even more privacy than other spaces in your home. At the same time, you still want some light to come in and you don’t want to get rid of your gorgeous windows completely. The solution is obvious: smart glass!
Besides the obvious use of smart glass in bathroom windows, you can also use the technology in your shower cabin. It is a beautiful privacy solution that can be turned on and off as you please. The design element is very aesthetically pleasing and modern. Keep the shower open during the day and close it when you’re using it.
Smart glass is a stylish and comfortable solution for modern homes, commercial spaces, educational facilities, and more. Even cars can benefit from smart glass! It is a design element as much as it adds privacy and comfort to your home.