Ever wished you could adjust your window’s opacity with just a flick of a switch? You could go from clear to dim to opaque windows without needing any obstructive (and dust-collecting) window treatments. Or maybe you want windows that automatically dim when the hot midday sun strikes it.
If you’ve ever wanted the above futuristic conveniences, it’s all possible with smart glass windows. In a nutshell, smart glass technology involves glass that responds to either (1) the elements (e.g. heat, light) or (2) direct user control. In both cases, the glass’s opacity is able to change.
As expected, this sophisticated type of technology comes with a wide range of benefits. We’ll cover them all in this guide. Along the way, we will also touch on a few fundamentals of smart glass windows.
Smart glass, otherwise known as switchable glass, is a relatively recent innovation that gives homeowners a new level of control over glass components in windows, glass partitions, and the like.
Smart glass is either actively controlled by the user (via electricity) or designed to passively respond to outside factors (e.g. heat or UV radiation). Therefore, the way that smart glass works — as well as the experience you get from them — depends on the specific type of smart glass or switchable glass that you opt for.
The way that smart glass works depends on the type you get for your home. We discussed this in detail in our guide: What Is Smart Glass Technology and How Does It Work?
However, to give better context for the benefits of smart glass windows that we will talk about in the next section, here is a summary of the main types of smart glass and how they operate:
(Note: for the purpose of this article, “actively controlled” smart glass are those directly controlled by the user. Meanwhile, “passively responsive” smart glass refers to those that respond to outside elements but cannot be directly controlled by the user.)
|Electrochromic Smart Glass Windows (Actively Controlled)|
|Suspended-Particle Glass||This type of smart glass has nanoparticles that are controlled by an electric current to influence glass opacity.|
|Micro-Blind Smart Glass||This type of smart glass has micro-blinds that are rolled. Electricity is used to flatten out these micro-blinds to influence glass opacity.|
|Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystal Glass||This type of smart glass has dissolved liquid crystals that give the glass a milky appearance. Electricity is used to align these crystals and make the glass clear.|
|Thermochromic Smart Glass Windows (Passively Responsive)|
|Smart glass windows that have this type of glass become dim when heat is applied. This means that as more solar heat hits the glass, the tint of the glass darkens.|
|Photochromic Smart Glass Windows (Passively Responsive)|
|Photochromic glass is also passively responsive to outside factors, similar to thermochromic glass. However, instead of responding to heat, photochromic glass responds to visible light.|
Not all smart glass windows can give a complete blackout experience. Some are only designed to frost the window or cause the window to become dim, whether actively or passively.
Depending on the manufacturer you choose, smart glass windows have varying degrees of light that they can block when activated. Blackout switchable glass will usually block 85% to 99% of visible light.
Smart glass windows allow you to experience a whole new level of hassle-free control. Whether you opt for smart glass windows that passively respond to heat/light or can be actively controlled with a switch or app, it’s a convenient experience that traditional windows can’t offer.
Whether you choose smart glass windows that turn frosted, dim, or opaque, you can look forward to enhanced privacy. It is recommended to opt for smart glass windows that have electrochromic glass because these are typically the types that can be actively controlled.
To further expound on what we mean by “actively controlled,” electrochromic smart glass windows can either be manually switched (with a physical switch or app) or automatically programmed to go frosted, dim, or opaque (i.e. privacy mode) during certain times of the day.
Tired of dust and pollen collecting on your blinds, shades, and drapes? Some smart glass windows can take the place of these window treatments entirely. This is especially recommended if you or someone in your house suffers from allergies.
Furthermore, by letting smart glass windows take the place of window treatments, you can look forward to sleek-looking interiors, less maintenance, and no more costs associated with replacing worn-out window treatments.
Switchable glass windows can automatically turn dim when struck by UV rays or be programmed to automatically dim at noon. These windows are a great way to decrease the amount of harsh UV rays that get into your home. In the long run, you’ll be able to look forward to undiminished and unfaded interiors.
Being a cutting-edge and sought-after technology, smart glass windows can increase the value of your home. Furthermore, this home upgrade can also make your property stand out which can attract potential buyers.
Properties that have smart glass windows are generally more attractive to renters and will be able to command higher rental rates. Considering all of the benefits we’ve covered so far, it’s clear why smart glass windows have such an impact on rental properties.
The average lifespan of smart glass windows is around 20 to 30 years. That’s potentially three decades of futuristic convenience, added privacy, less dust, and unfaded interiors.
Being a relatively new technology, smart glass windows are more expensive than traditional windows costing around $40 to $85 per square foot. As smart glass windows become more widespread, it’s possible that this cost could go down over time.
As it stands, smart glass windows are definitely a big investment. And as with any home improvement project, it is important to carefully weigh the cost versus benefits so that you can determine if smart glass windows are worth it for you.
Whether you have your heart set on getting smart glass windows or other kinds of upgraded windows for your home, it is important to choose a trustworthy window manufacturer who can provide reliable, customized, and aesthetically-pleasing windows for your home.
Browse through our list of trusted and preferred window companies in Canada and start inquiring about how you can get smart glass windows for your home or property today!