In the evolving world of ‘smart’ technology, it comes as no surprise that ‘smart’ windows are now in the works. Fear not, the technology behind University College London and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s prototype will not provide yet another surface for Donald Trump’s freedom kids to haunt you on. Instead, the window boasts three features that will cut window-cleaning and heating costs as well as boosting worker productivity:
- Self-cleaning: the window is ‘ultra’ water-resistant due to pyramid-like nanostructures (100 times smaller than a human hair) that are engraved onto the glass. Rain coming into contact with the window forms spherical droplets that rapidly roll over the surface, picking up dirt and dust along the way.
- Energy saving: A thin (5-10 nanometre) film of vanadium dioxide coats the glass, which prevents thermal radiation escaping or entering the building. Researchers calculate that the windows could result in up to a 40% reduction in heating bills.
- Anti-glare: The shape of the nanostructures gives the windows significant anti-reflective properties, cutting the amount of internal light reflection to less than 5%. It is expected that this reduction in glare will provide a big boost to occupant comfort and productivity.
With discussions already under way with UK glass manufacturers, it is estimated that smart windows could begin to reach the market within 3-5 years. Click here for more information.