If you’ve ever encountered glass that adapts to your preferences, there’s a good chance it was smart glass. Intuitive and intelligent, it’s been called dynamic glass, switchable glass, and smart-tinting glass. Modern designs call for efficient, tech-driven, multifunctional glass that is efficient and easy to maintain. A growing choice for both residential and commercial spaces, smart glass is a cutting-edge technology that can do so much more than standard glass.
Upgrading to smart glass enhances privacy, increases safety, and—when combined with the benefits of retractable awnings or shade-producing trees—makes a home comfortable and customizable any time of day.
What is Smart Glass?
Smart glass is a window film that is customizable and controllable. This technology can be used in various places, including partitions, windows, and other transparent surfaces. With smart glass, different forms of light are controlled, including UV, IR, and visible light. There are two types of smart glass: active and passive.
The active smart glass needs an electrical charge, while passive smart glass does not. Machine learning enables automatic dimming or normal lighting throughout spaces. There are three different active applications for smart glass, including:
- Electrochromic glass: coated windows that gradually get darker
- Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal glass: primarily used as privacy partitioning in commercial settings
- Suspended Particle Device glass: tinted windows typically seen in automobiles or buildings
There are also two passive applications for smart glass. These include:
- Thermochromic glass: coated windows that change in response to temperature
- Photochromic glass: typically eyeglasses with coatings that automatically get darker in the sun
Smart glass is created when placing a PDLC film between two pieces of glass. This glass creates modernized spaces in both commercial and residential properties, as well as electronics.
Get Rid of the Blinds
With switchable glass, there is no need for blinds or curtains, keeping things modern and clean. This creates a fresh, updated aesthetic that is automatically controlled by pressing a switch. Air that’s circulating throughout the house won’t have extra fabrics and crevices to deposit dust in. In residential homes, smart glass is making its mark, creating more energy-efficient rooms while lowering costs and keeping areas cool.
It also represents value added when installed in homes. If, for example, you want to get the highest ROI for your luxury waterfront investment property, smart glass is a perfect addition; it enables you to control the amount of sunlight coming in without compromising your views.
Homeowners increasingly prefer this new solution, but in commercial spaces like buildings and hotels, it’s more of a necessity as it provides much-needed privacy and shade. It’s particularly useful for lobbies and common areas. Another place where smart glass is convenient is in hospital rooms. Curtains on the windows are unnecessary, and this type of glass also helps create privacy areas instead of thin curtains that can hold bacteria.
The PDLC smart glass is perfect for these areas and offers privacy without blocking light, and it can go from bright to dim in seconds. EC or SPD may be more suited for other areas depending on the space. Very versatile, this is a great alternative that won’t require consistent washing of curtains or dusting of blinds. Additionally, it enhances the overall aesthetic and changes without being too noticeable, if at all.
There are multiple exterior-facing uses with smart glass. You can control the light coming in from a skylight, use it for ceiling-to-floor windows to block light, create modern looks, and provide privacy. While skylights are nice, they may not be a good solution when you need darkness in the room. Turning the skylight opaque will still filter in light while keeping bright, harmful sunrays at bay.
Homes that enjoy the beauty of ceiling-to-floor windows also must contend with less privacy and glaring sunlight. For homeowners that live close to someone else or whose windows face the street, tasteful window treatments can detract from the look and feel of the space and be financially burdensome.
Art galleries and conservatories can also benefit from smart glass, keeping the art safe from sun rays by turning the glass opaque. Conservatories can switch how they use the smart glass from transparent to opaque based on the window’s location and what they want the general public to see.
One of the main benefits of smart glass for exterior-facing uses is that large windows create the illusion of a larger space, even if space is somewhat limited. This works well in areas where it is beneficial to bring the outdoors in.
Interior Smart Glass Applications
Regarding interiors, smart glass allows designers to become creative and innovative. Partitions that create private but open spaces are an excellent way to separate rooms or areas. Many designers also use smart glass for kitchen or display cabinets, which changes the room’s aesthetic based on how it is used.
Bathrooms can be instantly transformed, creating stunning focal points and privacy simultaneously. This adds to the décor while creating a luxurious look and feel. Having smart glass partitions between the bedroom and bathroom help to make beautiful ensuites; smart glass can also be used in closets to create private or semi-private looks. One of the great things about this glass is that it can be paired with home automation devices for instant control.
Change the Way You Think About Glass
Adding smart glass to your spaces enhances the room no matter where it is used. There are multiple ways to configure and create memorable designs, from creating privacy to keeping out light.