Smart windows: Dynamic Glass saves energy and emissions
There is a reason most modern office buildings feature an abundance of glass: Natural light and expansive views enhance both creativity and productivity. But there is a downside too: Conventional glass at times tends to let too much sun into a building which heats it up. At other times, valuable heating energy literally goes out the window. The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that buildings in the U.S. account for 70 percent of the country’s electricity load and emit more carbon dioxide than cars or the industrial sector.View Glass at the Community Medical Center, Clovis, CA (Credit: View)
This is where smart glass can have a big impact. “Dynamic Glass”, as the Milpitas, CA-based manufacturer View Inc. calls its product, automatically adjusts to the amount of light and heat it lets pass into building. That’s made possible by an electrochromic coating between two layers of glass that can be dimmed by applying a small current. Albeit expensive, smart glass saves heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting costs. “Dynamic Glass” can reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent in a typical commercial installation, View says.
- Hello sunshine: LightCatchers switch off the light bulb
The sight is all but too common: While the sun shines bright outside, the insides of warehouses and other commercial spaces are lit artificially, consuming electricity and creating an unpleasant work environment. The Belgium company EcoNation has a better solution. It offers to install LightCatchers, smart skylights with a sensor that tracks the sun, and a mirror system that optimizes the amount of daylight entering a building. The skylights are also able to diffuse the light and reflect heat, avoiding high temperatures and blinding sun spots on bright days. As a result electric lights can be switched off that otherwise would have burned the whole day.
EcoNation estimates that customers can expect to reduce their electricity consumption by 20 percent to 50 percent after switching to LightCatcher. Per 1,000 square meters of f industrial floor surface, the technology can save up to 50,000 kWh and reduce up to 40 tons of CO2 per year, the company claims. EcoNation offers a package with on upfront costs where the consumer repays the investment with monthly payments that are supposed to be lower than the old electricity bill.