Smart glass, also called “dynamic glass” or “electrochromic glass,” differs from regular glass in that its tint level can be adjusted on demand — think Transitions glasses, but for buildings. Smart glass contains thin layers of metal oxide. When small amounts of electricity are applied to those layers, ions move between them, changing the glass’ tint level. When the summer sun is hitting the side of a building, the tint level can be increased, allowing visible light to pass but blocking some solar radiation — thereby reducing incoming heat. Conversely, the tint can be decreased in colder seasons, allowing more natural heat to pass through.
Smart glass can help reduce a building’s heating or cooling energy needs by about 20%, per a U.S. Department of Energy estimate. Plus, if lots of buildings in a single city adopt smart glass, it can reduce the peak load on the local electric grid during times of heavy use.
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