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Surprising Science

Coming Soon: More Buildings With Auto-Tinting Windows

Two manufacturers of “smart windows” have affiliated with larger companies in recent months, indicating that this technology may finally become more widespread as commercial building owners seek to reduce energy costs.

What’s the Latest Development?

California-based startup View, a maker of electrochromatic glass — “smart windows” that darken with the flip of a switch — recently partnered with glass company Corning to begin joint research on ways to improve their product’s performance while lowering the cost. View CEO Rao Mulpuri says his company has already made headway towards the latter by using modified production techniques from other industries. The move follows last year’s acquisition of Minnesota-based Sage Glass, which also produces auto-tinting windows, by French construction company Saint Gobain. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Various companies have been working on auto-tinting glass for decades, but the technology has never taken off, mainly because of cost. Today, commercial building owners are looking for more ways to improve energy efficiency as well as the ability to shield their tenants from excessive sun glare and heat. View’s windows are already installed in hospitals and hotels, among other buildings, and with Corning’s help, they hope to encourage architects to use them more often in their designs. Still, it remains to be seen whether owners will choose these windows over good old-fashioned blinds.

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Read it at IEEE Spectrum


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