When most people think of “windows” and “technology,” it’s Microsoft’s products that spring to mind. However, there has also been a lot of recent innovation with respect to the more traditional windows found in building structures. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the world of glass windows.
- Window Film – Window film is an ultra-thin transparent layer of film that can be easily applied to windows. The film blocks the sun’s ultraviolet rays to keep your home cooler in summer and cuts down on heat loss from your home during the colder months.
- Low-e Glass – Low-e glass is glass with a low-emissivity window coating that also reduces heat gain in hot months and cuts down on heat loss in winter. These windows are either hard-coated or soft-coated. A hard-coat is incorporated into the glass in its molten state, while a soft-coat is applied after the window has been manufactured.
- Multi-Pane Windows – Double and triple-pane windows reduce noise and maximize energy efficiency. Argon, a dense gas that reduces heat transfer and minimizes cold spots, is commonly encased between the layers of multi-pane windows.
- Bird-Friendly Windows – Birds die every year by flying into glass windows. There are several ways that windows can be made bird safe. One interesting method involves a patterned coating that birds can see but people can’t. The concept is based on a bird’s ability to see light in the ultraviolet spectrum that is invisible to humans.
- Robotic Window Cleaners – Manufacturers have given us self-cleaning ovens, automatic shower scrubbers, and robotic vacuum cleaners. So, it’s only natural that labor-saving devices for washing windows are now being marketed. These automatons can clean your windows both inside and out.
The Future of Windows
Smart technology is being built into many products today, so why should windows be an exception. Here are some interesting emerging window technologies that will be available soon.
- High-Tech Windows – Cutting edge technology is developing windows containing electrically charged nanocrystals to block sunlight, glare, and heat.
- Darkening on Demand – Windows that can change from clear to opaque at the touch of a button are being tested. One company is working on a transitioning technology that will enable glass to change from clear to dark according to changes in temperature.
- Power Windows – Solar panels on rooftops are familiar sights, but solar panels instead of windows would give you a very dark house. However, researchers are developing a new window technology that creates solar energy while keeping windows clear.
- Power Coating – This method of collecting the sun’s energy is through the application of a special electricity-generating spray coating on glass. This technology uses hydrogen-carbon based substances to create an organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar array.
All of these window technologies are designed to make your home more livable and your life easier. This article has touched on just a few of the exciting window innovations currently available and also being developed. You can be sure that more exciting innovations will follow in the not-so-distant future.