There’s a glass technology that’s been developed over the last few years that could well enter the mainstream and our homes within the next few years – it is already being used in offices, hospitals and hotels across the globe. Electrochromic glazing has big potential to change how our homes look and work!
What is Electrochromic Glazing?
Electrochromic glazing or ‘smart glass’ is a clever type of glass that can change from transparent to opaque at the flick of a switch. It has been created to allow you to control the amount of light and heat passing through. Unlike curtains or blinds, this type of glass is capable of partially blocking light and maintaining a clear view out of the window.
Essentially you can tint your windows to reduce glare inside and the heat penetration, you can make them completely opaque (keeping more heat in) or you can frost the glazing to block the view, but still allow natural light to enter.
The technology is becoming so advance that they can become display units – it can show you pictures, adverts, maybe even movies in the future!
How does it work?
It works by letting an electrical current pass through the glass or film, which moves the particles to create the desired effect – be it full transparency, blocking out the view for the night or turning your shops billboards on the external pane. At the flick of a switch you can transform the purpose of your windows!
That’s the basic explanation, but you can get into much more detail about it here.
If you’re still not sure of what it looks like and how it works, here’s a video of Electrochromic glazing in action:
What the Experts Say?
I spoke to Anglian Home Improvement’s Head of Product Development, Tom Allen, to see what he thought of electrochromic glazing and whether he could see it in our homes in the not too distant future.
‘There are a number of exciting smart glass technologies on the market or in development, including Electrochromic glazing. Most of these are designed to offer users the option of privacy and light control, as well as a number of other benefits.
Unfortunately, these aren’t likely to be widely used in homes just yet, as they are currently very expensive. Another stumbling block is that most of these technologies need electricity to activate them; while this isn’t a problem for new-build properties, adding power to windows in existing houses will require more disruption and cost as an electrician will be required.
However, as costs fall I expect smart glass to become something that is commonplace in our houses.’
Could this be the end of curtains and blinds? Let us know your thoughts on electrochromic glazing in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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