Thermochromic Glass: The New Smart Window Technology | Vern's GlassAn emerging technology in window design is thermochromic glass. This innovative, smart material changes tint automatically, using heat and light from the sun to darken or lighten the tint of the glass, reducing glare and increasing energy efficiency inside the building.

Primarily in use in commercial glass storefronts, office buildings, and institutional construction at present, thermochromic glass is also increasingly finding its way into residential construction, making for smarter, more comfortable, and energy efficient homes.

How Thermochromic Windows Work

Thermochromic design in windows involves an interlayer of special material made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched between two panes of glass. The glass is tempered to resist shattering and increase strength, and the surface is coated with a layer of another material which reduces heat transfer from the outside to the inside of the building.

The thermochromic material inside the window pane is sensitive to heat and light, and the more direct sunlight warming the pane, the darker it becomes, reflecting glare and keeping temperatures inside cooler and more comfortable. As light and heat levels decrease, the tint of the glass becomes lighter until it is almost as clear as a regular window pane.

The additional layers of smart technology materials inside these windows also reduce noise levels from outside. The material is resistant to fading, unlike some other types of surface window coatings used for reducing glare, which does not change tint when exposed to heat or light.

Thermochromic materials are being used in both fixed and operable windows, sliding glass doors, and skylights.

Advantages of Thermochromic Window Technology

The main advantage of thermochromic window technology is in the control of heat gain inside a building and a reduction of glare based on the level of light outside. This type of glass allows natural light to enter while automatically providing protection against heat and glare.

Thermochromic glass comes in varying R-values and visible light transmission levels. Glass tint levels, surface coating, and air space between the panes of glass can all be selected to match the required performance for the specific application.

Thermochromic glass has been on the market for commercial buildings since 2010, and extra-large windows using this new material have been available from several manufacturers since 2015.

Contact Vern’s Glass in Victorville to find out more about the latest technologies and materials in window design and manufacture.