Andrew Michler

New Window Changes Tint Automatically When it Gets Hot

by , 11/11/10
filed under: Architecture, Daylighting

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Windows are one of the weakest points in a building’s energy profile. While great gains have been made over the last couple of decades, windows still have issues with allowing in heat when you don’t need it — or cutting it off when you do. The company RavenBrick has developed what could be considered a bit of a game changer in window technology — a glass that automatically changes tint according to its temperature using nanotechnology. The idea is simple enough: when it gets hot the windows darken to block incoming solar radiation, and when it is cold they are clear to allow the free heat in — all without electricity.

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The windows use “an organic, nontoxic polymer which changes its molecular structure in response to temperature.” A thermochromic filter is placed in-between the panes of glass and it can be adjusted for different ambient temperatures. This mean that the windows can be configured for site-specific applications — the radiation control can be finely tuned for each side of a building and for different locations. The windows do not change tint on a gradient but rather change from transparent directly to semitransparent and back again.

While buildings are complex and many factors go into determining their energy consumption, the founders of RanvenBrick estimates that in the right application their windows can cut a building’s energy use by 30-40% each year. That adds up to a potential simple payback of six years for the product.

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3 Comments

  1. banfield November 18, 2010 at 6:59 am

    just what that over-glazed prefab studio from piece homes needs

  2. CB_Cityspired November 11, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    This is an interesting innovation in green technology for windows. The only thing that worries me is that the frames for these windows in the photograph appear to be made out of vinyl. Vinyl is made from PVC, which produces dioxins as a by-product whenever it is created or incinerated. That is a decidedly non-green solution!

    The actual technology of the tinted glass seems very interesting. Is this technology similar to the kind that is used to produce glasses/sunglasses that change their tint based on sun exposure? If so, given how long that product has been on the market, I’m surprised to just see this version emerge in window form.

    CB
    cityspired.blogspot.com

  3. nathanwiseass November 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    sure would be nice if they could spray on the polymer instead of replacing the worlds windows, but kudos… I have something that dims my winbdows in the hot months and lets light in during the cold ones, it’s called a grape vine. ;-P

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