Smart Home & AI

Smart Windows: Glass, Blinds, Film, Shades, Air Conditioning Units, & More

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Smart window on in living room (caption: Smart Windows)The windows in our homes connect the inside and outside world, but they also make us vulnerable. Smart windows can help you feel more secure and add to your smart home capabilities.

Article Overview

How Do Smart Windows Work?

How Smart Windows workSmart windows, made with smart or switchable glass, can be opaque or translucent when electricity is added or taken away. This feature allows you to darken or lighten your window with the flip of a switch.

There are 3 types of technology used in smart windows:

1) Suspended-Particle Devices

Particles suspend randomly in a liquid between 2 panes of glass or in a film. When you add electricity, they line up straight, and light can’t pass through, making it opaque. When you take electricity away, they fall back into a random pattern where light can pass through, making it transparent.

2) Electrochromic Devices

Two electrodes move ionized particles within the glass. A jolt of electricity causes them to move from one position to the other. When they move toward the inside, the window becomes transparent. When they move toward the outside, it becomes opaque. Electricity charges the electrodes to move, but once they move, they don’t require a current to keep them in place.

3) Polymer-Dispersed Liquid-Crystal Devices

There are liquid crystals suspended in a liquid polymer. The liquid goes between 2 panes of glass or plastic with a thin layer of a transparent conductive material. Curing of the polymer then occurs to harden the material. During this process, liquid crystals become incompatible with the polymer and form droplets within it. Once you add electricity to the electrodes in the conductive material, it causes the liquid crystals to align in the droplets, making the glass transparent. When electricity is not present, the crystals scatter and block the light making it opaque.

How Do You Control Smart Windows?

Depending on the product you purchase, there are lots of ways to control your smart windows. Some are connected to a switch on the wall, while others give you the option to use a remote control, smartphone app, WiFi, or even voice control through a smart speaker (Amazon Alexa or Google Home) to manage your windows. These smart options can also allow you to set a schedule for your smart window, adjust the tinting and control them remotely.

What Are My Options?

There are two options when it comes to smart window installation. You can control both types in similar ways, but they do have some notable differences.

1) Smart Window Glass

Technology for this type of window consists of a film placed between 2 panes of glass during the manufacturing process. It also typically requires professional installation. This option is generally more expensive but tends to last longer than the film.

2) Smart Window Film

This type of smart window technology adheres to the outside of an existing window. You can attempt to do this as a DIY project, or have it professionally installed. The film is a less expensive option, but it runs the risk of peeling back from the window, causing the need for more frequent replacement.

3 Reasons To Get Smart Windows

1) Reduce Energy Costs

The tinted or opaque feature of smart windows can reduce the internal temperature of your home, lowering the energy cost of cooling your home.

2) Control Natural Lighting

Security camera on side of building (caption: Best Burglary Deterrents)Smart windows give you the ability to adjust the level of natural lighting you’re allowing into your home.

3) Increased Privacy And Home Security

When you turn on the window covering features of your smart windows, no one, especially potential buglers, will be able to see you or the contents of your home from the outside. When you use it in this way, the smart glass could be considered a burglar deterrent. You should also consider smart blinds for added security and privacy.

Where Can I Get Smart Windows?

When you’re ready to purchase smart window technology, you’ll need to decide if you want the glass or the film. If you’re considering the film for a DIY project, check out your options on Amazon. SW offers a sample size of smart window film, so you can try it out before purchasing full coverage, more expensive smart window film.

If you’re considering smart window glass, you’ll want to see which companies are available in your area for purchase and installation. Make sure that whoever you choose has proper licensing, experience with installing smart glass windows and that you feel comfortable after reading customer reviews and checking out references.

Smart Glass In Action

This short 1-1/2-minute video shows you how smart glass works, and you can see it in action.

Smart Windows For A Smart Home

Smart windows can be a helpful way to reduce your energy costs and add to your home security. They’re also one of many ways to upgrade your home to be a smart home. We have an entire article dedicated to helping you make your home as smart as it can be. We continue to update it as we research more smart home products as technology improves.

Julie Fritz

Julie has been writing professionally since 2012. She is an active volunteer for a local arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Everytown does comprehensive research on gun violence and makes recommendations on how we can all make our communities safer. Her involvement with this organization has given her invaluable information about how to keep our kids safe. She enjoys writing not only about gun safety, but from family-related content to informative articles about technology, events and healthcare. In her free time, you might find her hiking, trail running, biking or swimming. You might also find her in the kitchen where she loves to cook and bake.

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