Smart technology in windows has come a long way from just double glazing, noise reduction, soundproofing, and energy efficiency. Today, many aspects of smart window technology that have already been used in commercial applications are making their way into residential use as well. And while energy efficiency is a big part of this technology, other areas include home security, light control, aesthetics, and even cleaning and maintenance. Many of these products also have the ability to connect their smart technology to other systems in your home or to wireless mobile devices. Below is a list of some applications of smart technology in windows.
Low-E, or low emissivity, sometimes known as “high performance” glass, is a popular product due to its potential in reducing energy costs. The glass is coated with metal oxide which is excellent for light reflection. The glass is also designed to reflect light back into a room in winter, and to reflect light outwards in summer. According to window manufacturer Pella, Low-E glass also “blocks most of the sun’s harmful UV rays, helping to prevent your carpet, furniture and window treatments from fading.”
Self Cleaning Glass
Cleaning windows, particularly on the exterior of a building can be a complicated or costly process, but there is smart technology on the market today that makes it more or less automatic. Dual Action Self Cleaning Glass is a glass that is coated with titanium dioxide which, when combined with sunlight, works to break down dirt buildup on the windows. The coating also contains compounds which, when combined with water, allow the broken down dirt to be easily rinsed away.
Smart window films use electrically charged particles between layers of coated glass which essentially replace the need for traditional window treatments or window coverings. Window films use Particle Displaced Liquid Crystals (PDLC’s) which are activated by voltage to increase or reduce the opacity of a window. The higher the voltage, the clearer the glass is, and the lower the voltage, the more opaque. Once wired and integrated into a home, window films can be controlled using dimmers or even voice command systems such as Alexa. Window films using PDLC technology can be retrofitted into virtually any type of residential window application.
Security sensors on windows allow you to remain aware of any movements inside or outside of your home even if you are away. With smartphone-connected apps, you can monitor the activity around your windows, check to make sure they are locked, and lock them remotely if they aren’t. Window manufacturer Pella offers a system called the Insynctive Window and Door Sensor, which connects your smartphone not only to window security, but also your home’s entry points and garage doors and it even lets you open and close window blinds remotely. A similar product called Verilock by Andersen Windows and Doors is also available for home window safety monitoring.