Smart glass is a technology that can be applied to doors, dividers, partitions, windows or even skylights. It is referred to as electric glass or even intelligent glazing because when electrical energy is applied it the glass pane will change the level of light that is allowed to pass through the glass.. It is also often described as “electronically switchable glass”. Other names that smart glass is well known as are EGlass, switchable glass, smart windows or even switchable windows.
The advantage that smart glass gives users is that it allows the customer to be able to control the amount of light and heat that will pass through. Therefore, the smart glass can change from transparent to translucent in just a few seconds. This can be explained as “electric frosting” that can be done with a wall switch, movement sensors, a remote control or even light sensors.
For example: when the smart glass is turned off it still looks like ordinary glass in an office boardroom, but when turned on the smart glass will ‘frost up’ and provide privacy for the meeting happening in the boardroom. Thus by just turning the ‘on’ switch the smart glass will provide you with instant privacy. The frosted glass can also double as a handy surface for projecting images against allowing you to get more use out of your interior.
There is also a type of smart glass that allows users to control the amount of light passing through, it changes transparent to opaque – blocking the direct light but still allows a clear view if you are standing behind the window. Apart from the visual advantages there is also the benefit of reducing the amount of heat that is allowed into a building which in turn reduces air-conditioning costs.
By applying smart glass you will save on:
- The installation of blinds/curtains;
- Maintaining the blinds/curtains; and
- Replacing interior photosensitive surfaces and fabrics (smart glass blocks out 98% UV).
A few things that every customer needs to take into consideration before installing smart glass are:
- The installation cost;
- The usage of electricity;
- The speed of control;
- The degree of transparency; and
- Also the possibilities of dimming for the smart glass.
Taking the above into consideration it is also good to think about all the possibilities when it comes to implementing smart glass, be it in your office, living room, bathroom or entertainment area etc:
- Some manufacturers of Smart glass include self-cleaning glass;
- When the need for ventilation arises the automatic opener of the smart glass can come in handy;
- The automatic opening of windows can be done with a timer or even in an automatic response for when rain occurs; and
- Smart glass includes LED (Light Emitting Diodes) Embedded films, for when switched on reduces the light intensity.
The potential and options available for contractors, architects and engineers are endless when it comes to smart glass. The fact is that there different kinds of methods of control when it comes to the basic dimmer switch and mass integration into the intelligent control system of a building or a even a car. Ideally you want to source your smart glass directly from the manufacturer to ensure that the installation is tailored to your needs.
Applying a “switchable glass laminate” to existing glass surfaces is a cheaper option available that suppliers do offer to customers, but it is important to note that while it is costs less to install the lifespan and durability will be a lot lower than authentic smart glass panes.