• If you’re thinking about replacing the windows in your home, make sure you’re aware of imminent innovations in glass technology. Photo: Green Living Builders LLC

  • Innovations such as "smart" glass will help to improve the energy efficiency of windows and other glass components. Photo: Green Living Builders LLC

  • Photovoltaic glass will enable a home's windows to double as solar panels. Photo: Green Living Builders LLC

Rolf Bell is principal of Green Living Builders LLC. To reach Rolf Bell call (510) 295-9322.
Cutting-Edge Glass Technologies

BERKELEY – If you’re planning to replace windows, sliding doors or other glass components in your home, you might want to put this off for another year or two. Glass technology is on the cusp of a major revolution, so if you hold out a little longer, you’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of cutting-edge innovations. Here are a couple of emerging glass technologies to watch for:

Smart glass
Today, we use window coverings like blinds and drapes to improve our windows’ insulation and provide privacy and light control. However, with the advent of smart glass, window coverings may become a thing of the past. Smart glass has transmission properties that can be altered by the application of voltage, light or heat. For example, with the flip of a switch, a panel of glass can go from fully transparent to opaque, providing privacy or glare reduction when desired. Likewise, smart glass can assist with home energy efficiency, as the molecules within the glass are charged to respond in a certain way to fluctuations in light or temperature. Whether they’re letting in heat in winter or blocking ultraviolet rays during the summer, smart glass windows go beyond the insulating abilities of normal glass to provide a more comfortable home environment.

Photovoltaic glass
With photovoltaic glass, your windows can double as solar panels. All the windows on your home’s southern and western exposure can be glazed with a photo-prepared coating that turns them into electrically charged entities. Some studies claim that photovoltaic window glass will pay for itself within a year of installation due to the energy it generates.

These revolutionary glass technologies are expected to be available for the residential market in 2018, so stay tuned, because it’s going to be a whole new world.

Rolf Bell is a 35-year veteran of the building industry and principal of Green Living Builders LLC, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 295-9322 or by email.

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