According to statistics released by the Department of Energy (DOE), domestic energy consumption in an average American home is expected to increase by 45 pc for electricity, 33 pc for oil, and 62 pc for natural gas over the next 20 years. The report, released in 2016, also reveals that energy supplies will be unable to meet the increasing demand in just under 10 years, meaning that energy prices are expected to skyrocket in just a couple of years.
Tech companies, university researchers, and other stakeholders are capitalizing on this by coming up with amazing products that focus on saving the amount of energy consumed in a home. From better solar panels to smart windows, the next frontier is certainly domestic energy. This brings us to how important it is to embrace technologies in your home that will actually save you money on energy.
In this regard, we will discuss the latest advances in window technologies that you should know and be a step ahead of everyone else for when the technologies are available in the consumer market.
A smart window that powers itself
Picture your home, but way cooler with smart windows that can go from a see-though glass on a bright morning to a cloudy light-filtering glass that keeps the house cool on a hot afternoon at the flip of a switch. Yes, this technology has been in development since 2012 at the University of Maryland and only materialized in 2016.These windows will have a super thin photovoltaic cells that can generate electricity by absorbing visible and invisible light rays and liquid crystals that can turn them from clear to cloudy. The integration of the rudimentary solar cells into the switchable glass means that the windows will be able to generate power that will subsidize your home’s energy requirements. The glass was made by mixing tiny droplets of liquid crystals with a polymer then sandwiched in very thin layers of transparent indium tin oxide (ITO).
A Smart window that can tilt on demand
Smart glass has been around for a very long time, but it is just now that the prices drop low enough to make them available to the general market. This explains why a glass that was developed for use on Boeing jetliners can now be used to make home windows.A new kind of electrochromic window glass that changes color in response to electrical charge passed through it may be a new frontier as far as smart windows go. The glass, which is made from commercially available materials can tilt and tap invisible infrared light to generate heat and electricity during the day.Delia Milliron, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Texas, figured out how the resulting material can be programmed to block or allow light to pass through using nanocrystals. The material can also transition from a transparent state to opaque, opening up a world of possible applications especially when it comes to privacy. This article on Technology Review exhaustively elaborates how the new material works and how practical it is for domestic use in the future.
Smart windows that eliminate the need for curtains and blinds
Researchers at Research Frontiers have developed a new type of window material with tiny particles called light valves or suspended particle devices that can turn from clear to dark in almost an instant.The material is made up of two insulating panels of plastic or glass, a conductor that coats the glass or plastic panes, a liquid suspension film in which millions of the suspended particle devices are placed, and a control device to enable easy switching from dark to clear and every shade in between.Just like the previous smart windows, this type of window uses electricity that alters the rate at which the suspended particle devices allow light to pass through. Electricity is passed through the conductive material, which makes the particles line up to let light through or form a pattern that blocks light. The user will just need to apply a moderate amount of electricity or program the control device to switch automatically.
Technological advancement in the field of electricity is what gave birth to these revolutionary smart glasses that we expect will be used to make our lives easier within a few years. Whether you own a home or plan to buy one soon, it is time you discover more about how smart windows will work for you and this has been a great place to start.