Smart glass ranks #61 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, smart glass can eliminate 2.19 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a net cost of $US74.2 billion, and would result in $321.5 billion in savings.
Originally an invention of the Romans, glass windows are now the norm. They provide light and visibility while keeping the weather outside. Except, as Drawdown points out, windows do let in the heat and the cold. Their capacity for insulation is much less than walls, but recent technologies have been delivering major improvements in window efficiency.
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Smart glass is one of those new technologies that actually make windows reactive to the weather outside. For example, electrochromic glass windows use electricity to change the tint and reflectiveness of the glass. “Electrochromic glass is as switchable as indoor lighting,” Drawdown notes, and can be conveniently adjusted using a smartphone or tablet device.
On a cold day, the glass can be triggered to let in the light and heat from the sun. On a warm day, it can be set to allow in light while stopping the heat. “On-demand smart windows have the added benefit of reducing energy load for lighting, along with improving heating and cooling efficiency,” Drawdown states.
Smart glass increases energy efficiency and reduces the need to cool buildings and homes. It costs twice as much as conventional glass, and is perhaps most effective in hotter climates. But as the market for smart glass expands, prices are expected to decline.