The High-Tech Windows You’ll Wish You Had
Tuesday Jul 07th, 2020
We have smart locks, smart light, smart thermostats-pretty much every aspect of our homes can be reached out. That’s why it’s about time windows got the tech treatment. Meet the technologies proving windows can do a lot more than just provide a pretty view.
Imagine never having to get up to draw your curtains or close your blinds. At the push of a button, you can transform your windows from clear to opaque thanks to electrochromic glass. This material changes colour when an electric current is applied through it, allowing you to get the privacy you need without having to install window coverings. This smart glass also blocks rays from heating your home in the summer, which helps reduce the use of air conditioning.
If the idea of replacing all your windows gives you a headache, you’re in luck. Several companies have developed an electrostatic film that you can simply stick onto your existing windows and instantly turn it into a smart window. For example, Sonte has developed a smart film that can be cut to any size and applied to any glass. After you’ve plugged it into a Wi-fi enabled transformer, you can switch between a see-through window and a fogged-up window in less than a second. You can also control the transparency level, set a timer for when you want the windows to be opaque, and even control multiple windows in one go.
If you want to forgo your blinds, you can opt for smart window treatments. We’re talking treatments way more advanced than your standard motorized shades. There are voice-activated blinds that can be integrated into your home smart system, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit, enabling you to control your blinds with just your voice. Ikea has even launched a range of voice-activated blinds!
Environment Canada estimates 16 to 42 million birds die every year in Canada due to collisions with residential and commercial buildings. During the day, birds often mistake the reflection in windows and mirrored buildings for surrounding habitat. At night, birds are drawn to lights left on in tall buildings. Fortunately, Ornuilux has developed a patterned, UV-reflective coating that is visible to birds but not to humans, making it an aesthetically pleasing method to mitigate bird collision.
Isn’t it annoying when a dirty window obstructs your view? Luckily, getting up to clean the window isn’t the only solution. Glass manufacturer Pilkington has created a self-cleaning glass with a titanium dioxide coating that reacts with UV rays to break down and disintegrate organic dirt such as fingerprints and bird droppings. When it rains, it washes away the dirt without leaving any streaks or residue. It won’t clean inorganic dirt such as paint or builder’s dust, however. That will still require some old-fashioned elbow grease.