Wouldn’t it be great if your building’s windows could adjust to the weather, allowing the warmth of sunlight to pass through during the colder months and blocking it each summer?
Smart Windows can do just that. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working to develop windows that are coated with nanocrystals, aggregates of atoms that combine into a crystalline form of matter known as a “cluster.”
When a few volts of current are sent through these nanocrystals, their electrical charge changes, allowing them to block heat from the sun without filtering the light.
Representatives from the lab say that, ideally, that current – and the windows – would be controlled by the building’s heating and cooling system. Buildings account for 40% of the energy used in this country, so not only would Smart Window technology make for more comfortable building interiors, it could reduce energy usage and heating and cooling costs substantially.
Smart Windows could be widely available as early as late 2014.