Smart glass (also known as switchable glass or Smart Window) uses special technology that allows the user to change the degree of transparency. This glass consists of two or more sheets that are coated with liquid crystal films through which short-term current impulse appears. When a strong current impulse occurs, the liquid crystals that are between the sheets are aligned, and the transparency of the glass changes.
Many of you may not have heard of the term smart or switchable glass, but you have certainly seen one. Smart glass can be used in many ways, but its main purpose is to turn the visible part of the room invisible. The biggest use case where you can find this piece of technology is business rooms, meeting rooms, bathrooms, offices, hotels, restaurants, etc.
Without too much talk, let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of these smart glasses. Here is the full list of their Pros and Cons:
|The PROS||The CONS|
|1. Smart Glass Reduces Heat Loss||1. High Starting Price (around $100/m²)|
|2. Smart Glass Are Durable||2. Electrical Consumption|
|3. Requires No Maintenance||3. The Need For Electricity|
|4. Smart Glass Blocks UV Rays||4. Production Is Not Widespread|
|5. Instant Privacy||5. Smart Glass Installation Requires Skills|
|6. Adjusting and Filtering the Light on Demand|
|7. Save Energy by Using Smart Glass|
|8. Smart Glass Used as a Projection Screen|
The PROS of Smart Glass (Smart Windows)
1. Smart Glass Reduces Heat Loss
If we want to make our house more energy-efficient and prevent heat loss, the first thing we need to pay attention to are the windows. They are responsible for heat loss, especially during cold months, while during the hot summer days, they let heat inside. Due to its design and chemical composition, the smart glass will reduce heat loss during the winter and heat load during hot summer days.
2. Smart Glass Are Durable
The materials from which smart glass is made are extremely sturdy and durable. High-quality materials make them extremely robust, and for that reason, they last long. In addition to being long-lasting, they are also resilient, and for that reason, it’s highly unlikely that you will need to replace your smart glass any time soon.
3. Requires No Maintenance
Smart glass can easily replace traditional blinds and curtains in your home. With a smart glass in your home, you’ll no longer have to wash or clean your curtains. This glass can also be installed in your office, room, bathroom, or in some business area and will not require almost any need for maintenance.
Smart glass works by using a switch/button that is installed on the wall or by using a remote control. This glass can be produced in all dimensions, and no special maintenance is required after installing it (except regular cleaning, which is similar to normal windows).
4. Smart Glass Blocks UV Rays
Another great advantage of Smart Glass is that it blocks UV rays, and at the same time, it lets as much natural light as normal glass. Normal (float) glass usually lets around 55% of UV-rays through, while on the other hand, the smart glass blocks over 95% of UV-rays. That way you’ll get even more natural sunlight in your room, and you also don’t need an air-conditioning system.
5. Instant Privacy
The biggest advantage of smart glass is that it allows instant privacy to the user. When you turn on smart glass, electricity flows through the glass layers, and the glass turns from transparent to opaque. That way, you will have privacy, and at the same time, natural light will still be present, unlike the blinds. By having smart windows in your home, you will no longer need to use curtains.
6. Adjusting and Filtering the Light on Demand
Another great thing about smart glass is that you can easily adjust the room light and filter the sight on demand. Although you will find that most rooms and business offices use buttons and switches to filter sight and light, in this case, simple remote control or a mobile app can do this job much easier. You can switch from one mode to another in just 1 second.
7. Save Energy by Using Smart Glass
You will no longer need an air conditioning system when you have smart (switchable) glass installed in your home or office. The manufacturers claim that smart (switchable) glass can save you up to 30% energy annually. After you use it, electrochromic glazing remains tinted and no electricity is required for its operation.
8. Smart Glass Used as a Projection Screen
What is also great with smart glass is that you can use it as a projection screen. That way, you’ll be able to use your smart glass more than you thought. It can also improve the design of the room itself. When you have a video projector in the room and want to watch movies, you can use a smart glass as a projector screen.
The CONS of Smart Glass (Smart Windows)
1. High Starting Price (around $100/m²)
Although all the advantages we have listed about smart glass, the biggest drawback is its price. However, the price range of smart glass can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another, but the current price is around $85 to $130 per square foot for this glazing. Because of that, electrochromic glass is not widely used. Most often, you will be able to see smart glass in large business offices and buildings, museums, and luxury hotels.
2. Electrical Consumption
Even though you will save energy by having a smart glass in your home or office, you must remember that they also consume electricity. Although it’s not big power consumption, smart glass consumes low voltage (12-36W), while the energy consumption is between 3 to 5 watts per square foot. You have to keep that in mind.
3. The Need For Electricity
For smart glass to operate, it needs electricity. Although we mentioned that you could save up to 30% of home energy by using smart glass, it also uses some electrical power from the grid. If you don’t have electricity in your home, you will not be able to use your smart glass. Therefore, this is certainly a disadvantage that we need to include in our list.
4. Production Is Not Widespread
Another disadvantage of smart glass is that it is not yet widespread, and sometimes it can be very hard to find. Therefore, before opting for smart glass, be sure to do detailed research, and find the nearest shop where you can buy it.
5. Smart Glass Installation Requires Skills
Installing smart glass requires skill, and to properly install it, you must know what you are doing. This process requires both; window and electrical installation skills. Therefore, you will need to hire an expert before opting for this.
How Does Smart Glass work?
Smart glass consists of multiple sheets that have liquid crystal films, and it needs electricity to operate. It is connected to a switch that uses a small transformer. When you close the circuit, electric current flows through the glass sheets, triggering the liquid crystals. When this happens, the glass becomes opaque. In this state, glass lets light in but it prevents objects that are in the other room from being distinguished. If you want to see an example of how it works, watch the following Youtube video.
Examples Where You Can Use Smart Glass
The great thing about smart glass is that you can install it both indoors and outdoors. Today, many big companies use smart glass to organize private business meetings in large rooms. However, a lot of luxury hotels also opt for this option to insulate certain rooms inside large halls. Bathrooms and hospitals are also a place where smart glass can be used, to gain privacy. Banks use smart glass for cash zones.
FAQ: People Also Ask
How Long Does Smart Glass Last?
Typically, smart glass can last up to 20 to 30 years which mainly depends on its use and maintenance. Also, other factors that are important are the material from which it is made, the temperature at which it is exposed, and how often it is used. Most smart glass manufacturers today produce this from high-quality materials.
How Much Does Shipping Cost For Smart Glass?
The shipping cost for smart glass usually depends on the location of the buyer and the order size. The cost of shipping for North America is between $350 to $1200 per order. If the order is for Canada or a country in Europe, shipping will be drastically higher than expected.
What is the Electricity Cost For Smart Glass?
Smart or switchable glass uses around 5 watts of power per square foot to operate. This usually depends on the model and number of layers that smart glass has. For 120 square feet of smart glass around 60 watts will be consumed, which is equal to a home light bulb.
Smart glass (also known as smart windows) is a great thing if you want privacy and energy efficiency at the same time. You can use it both indoors and outdoors. Although we can rarely see smart glass on buildings and homes, both because of their price and because of their low prevalence, we must certainly keep in mind that this will be the future.
However, smart glass is a great alternative for home curtains, shading screens, or blinds. Remember that electrochemical or liquid crystal smart glass during its transparent state will not let ultraviolet rays inside your home. The only thing I could say in the end is that the high price and difficult availability prevent its wider use. I hope we have helped you and given you enough information if you want to opt for smart glass. Good luck!