How expensive is electrochromic glass? An Ultimate Guide
Imagine Luxurious panoramic windows, stylish doors and partitions that can, at your request, turn from a transparent state to a milky matte color. Switchable Smart privacy glass is not a fantasy! This is reality for our clients.
If you have decided to change the windows of your home or office, I recommend that you stop for a moment and read this article thoroughly.
It will take you more or less 3’29 ” but it is a time investment that will save you a lot of money.
What is a Smart privacy glass?
Privacy smart-glass is a glass with adjustable transparency at the touch of a button. If you want to create an original interior, then this unique design is just for you. Smart glass has the ability to change the transparency and permeability of light.
With such windows, your home will not only be comfortable and harmonious, but also functional. At the same time, you will have a high degree of sound insulation.
ELECTROCHROMIC GLASS CHARACTERISTICS
Get acquainted with the main technical characteristics of smart glass:
|power usage||Smart glass has a very high energy efficiency, which is only 7 W per 1 m2. Power supply – 110 V.|
|Switching speed||The speed of switching from matte to transparent is less than 1 second.|
|Working temperature range||This technology can work from -25C to + 60C.|
|Light transmission and transparency||Excellent indications for light transmission – up to 80% and achieving transparency of only about 8%.|
|Smart glass dimensions||The maximum size of smart glass is possible within 980 mm and 1200 mm in width and up to 3.5 meters in height.|
How did the smart glass idea come about?
The topic of the production of smart glass has been discussed on the market for about 20 years, manufacturers are not surprised by this, but for the end user it remains a novelty. It all started in 1979, when Steve Abadi decided to create an electronic glass.
At that time it was technically impossible. His dream of making glass based on liquid crystals did not fade away and came true only in 1984 in the form of a glass unit “LC Glass”. In addition, for the market of the glass industry at that time, it was too new and obscure product. Steve had to leave the production of electronic glass for almost 20 years.
Types and technologies of Smart glasses
The method of making smart glasses was invented more than 20 years ago and is constantly being improved, and only now there is a trend for its mass use. Basically, consumers are mostly unaware of the existence of such an invention and cannot afford it.
Smart glass technologies have undergone changes over the years – they began to consume less energy and their cost is decreasing every year, which makes it possible to bring the product to the masses in the future.
Smart glass technology
It is made by triplexing 2 or more sheets of glass. The laminating films used for its production are divided into three types by technology:
- EVA – ethylene vinyl acetate film.Its main advantage is the low cost of both the EVA film itself and the equipment for its production. It has good adhesion to plastic and glass, but has a high degree of turbidity and low strength.
- PVB is a polyvinyl butyral film. A distinctive feature is that it has a high quality at the output, but at the start – a high production cost. PVB film adheres well to glass, but poorly to plastic. And just like EVA film, polyvinyl butyral film (PVB) does not withstand high humidity conditions.
- TPU – Thermoplastic polyurethane film.It is most suitable for the production of smart glass. TPU film is immune to moisture, aggressive conditions, plus it has high adhesion to both glass and plastic.
Type of glass used in smart privacy glass
The type of glass used in smart glass is tempered laminated glass. The recommendation aims to ensure the safety of users, considering that tempered glass is more resistant and, when equipped with lamination, amplifies its protective characteristics.
It is worth remembering that this glass model can be insulated (double glazed) and used in floor-to-ceiling glass partitions, increasing the private characteristics by isolating the acoustics of the place.
– Smart glass thickness
The smart glass can be found in thicknesses from 08 mm to 20 mm (laminated). Moreover, in the case of insulated smart glass the thickness may vary. What’s more, smart glass can be tailor-made for special projects, as it accepts any shape, including cutouts and holes.
– Smart glass colors
The glass market offers private glass in the following colors:
- Extra Clear
In addition to perfecting the unique qualities of the environment, smart glass offers:
– Image projection (projector polarized glass)
With the liquid crystal display turned off, it is possible to project images onto the surface of the smart glass. The LCD screen inside the glass provides excellent quality images directly on the glass.
– Easy cleaning
Cleaning smart polarized glass is simple. A soft, damp cloth and mild soap are enough. The cloth should be wiped on the surface until it is completely clean; after, just finish with a dry cloth to remove any moisture. Simple, isn’t it?
– Better use of natural resources
Smart glass allows the user to continue enjoying all the qualities of the glass, such as the entry of natural light. This means savings on the electric bill by reducing the use of artificial lighting.
VARIABLE TRANSPARENCY GLASS: USE IN ARCHITECTURE
Buildings and structures with a large area of glazed surfaces have long become an indispensable part of modern architecture. These spectacular visuals need glass shading.
The search for solutions is not limited to traditional options, since they prevent light from entering. For shading, it is proposed to use more functional and subtle methods.
Active and passive glass bandwidth control
Most of all, developers of window technologies are interested in two areas: the ability of glass to retain heat in a room and its function of protecting against solar radiation. Modern research in these areas is based on the ability to control the intensity of the ultraviolet radiation flux transmission.
Such control can be passive, used in photochromic and Smart privacy glass, and active, the scope of which is the so-called “smart” glass. It has several names and is referred to in different sources as smart glass and glass with variable transparency.
You can consider the features of active and passive control using the example of glasses with the “chameleon” effect. Simultaneously, they use glass, which is called photochromic in reference books. The main feature of materials of this type is to change their own light transmittance depending on the intensity of illumination.
This property of photochromic glass is widely used in the manufacture of insulating glass units. This solution is especially popular when glazing a large area. Moreover, panoramic windows with photochromic glass regulate the intensity of illumination by themselves, which makes them more in demand in comparison with tinted energy-saving heat-glazing units.
The latter do not change the intensity of illumination and remain darkened during any solar activity, including cloudy weather.
Generally, the level of illumination also affects the flow of heat into the room. So, tinted glazing significantly reduces the intensity of this process, which is not always justified in the cold season. Houses with southern facades with panoramic glazing should let in as much light and heat as possible in winter in sunny weather. For such cases, tinting is not the best solution.
This variety is characterized by a change in optical properties depending on temperature. This feature is determined by a special gel introduced into the glass structure, which becomes opaque when heated. These properties of Smart privacy glass are used when equipping buildings, the windows of which should remain as transparent as possible when cool, and darkened when warm.
Thermochromic glass is also a passive option for controlling light transmission. Furthermore, it works automatically, does not need any energy sources or control. These glasses are good for equipping skylights and glass roofs, where the light intensity is not very important, and the throughput is determined by the outside and inside temperature.
The basis of this type of glass is smart polymers, which, under the action of an electric field of certain strength, affect the change in light transmission in the range of visible and infrared radiation. Hence, this effect is achieved through the use of special spraying or smart film.
Electrochromic glasses are manufactured using two types of technologies – PDLS and SPD – using three options for smart polymers:
- LC (PDLC)type changes the transparency of the glass without affecting the light transmission. The glass may become opaque, but the level of natural insolation of the room remains. The matte effect is noticeable from both sides – both inside and outside the building;
- ECDis a type of polymer that can simultaneously change the transparency and light transmission of glass. Due to the voltage, it is possible to achieve variation in the intensity of the throughput flow.
- SPDis a type of polymer with properties similar to ECD.
The structure of liquid Smart privacy glass
The structure of liquid crystals of a film without stress is not ordered, while the glass is matte. When an electric current is applied, the crystals line up in clear rows and, thereby, form significant gaps – such glass becomes transparent.
Liquid crystal film is often included in three-layer laminated glass, and is also used to make bullet-proof and impact-resistant glass. The scope of this type of glazing is wide and is not limited to the facade of the building. It is also used in the interior.
Glass that changes transparency, becomes either matte or completely invisible – an effective method of organizing space. Partitions are made of such material, zoning the space well. In addition, this material can replace obsolete blinds and curtains.
Smart privacy glass is cost effective. In the cold season, it retains 4.5 times more heat than an ordinary glass unit. Furthermore, at the same time, smart technology allows you to consume less electricity and lower peak loads on the network. Thus, using electrochromic glass, lighting costs can be reduced by 51%. Savings on air conditioning up to 49%.
Properties of electrochromic glasses
For many of us, our own home is not only a roof over our heads, but also the place that we try to equip as comfortable as possible.
In order for an ordinary apartment with a loggia or a balcony to turn into a real “smart home” filled with different chips, we try to follow all kinds of innovations in the world of construction and decoration of residential premises.
Electrical equipment switched on from voice commands, smart robotic systems helping to cope with household chores – all this is gradually entering our everyday life and becomes commonplace.
How many of you have come across information about glazing an apartment or office using Smart privacy glass?
If not, and if you are interested in knowing what is so special about electrochromic glass, read my article in which I will try to tell you about all the nuances associated with this material.
This material can be in three working states:
- in transparent – when the power supply is disconnected;
- The dimmed one – when operating in the power supply mode;
- in the transitional – from non-working transparent to working darkened.
Changes in color and light transmittance of glass can occur under the influence of three external factors:
- temperature changes;
- ultraviolet radiation;
- electrical voltage.
What is the transparency rate of Privacy Smart glass?
The first two parameters affect the prepared glass surface under all circumstances. For example, whether we like it or not, when we go outside, where the sun is shining, our photochromic glasses darken in any case. And vice versa, even if we need it, the glasses of the photochromic glasses will not darken in the room, because there is no ultraviolet radiation.
The darkening of an electrochromic transparent material in this respect is of a completely different nature. Moreover, it depends on two conditions: our desire and the presence of electrical voltage. Due to this dependence, the scope of application of electrochromic glass products is widespread where a controlled change in the reflective properties of glass is required.
The similarity of photochromic and Smart privacy glass is that they cannot give full opacity. Therefore, they cannot be used as a screen for projecting an image. It will still be absorbed by the glass structure of the material. But for the human eye, this surface can serve as a certain barrier and be used as curtains or curtains on windows.
It should be noted that this obstacle is one-sided.
When electrochromic glass is installed in a car, the driver sitting in it can clearly see what is happening behind the glass, while it is difficult for a traffic inspector to determine what is happening inside the car.
Generally, the same story is with photochromic glasses: the eyes of a person in such glasses see everything, but where they look is a mystery to those around them.
The main advantages of electrochromic glass include:
- the ability, when the need arises, to control the change in light transmission;
- Economic feasibility. In hot weather, you can reduce the thermal load on the room with controlled dimming by blocking access to the sun’s rays, and, therefore, you will need less money for air conditioning. In winter, on a sunny day, by making the glass as transparent as possible, you can save on heating the room;
- the ability not to lose its quality when applying anti-vandal coating;
- Return to its original transparent state in the event of an emergency power outage.
How does electrochromic glass work?
Basically, there are two answers to this question: unambiguous and detailed.
The unequivocal answer: due to the supply of electrical energy. In addition, the extended answer contains more interesting information.
Electrochromic or electrochemical glass is a sandwich-like laminate.
When small force (about 12 volts) electrical impulses are applied to its composition, they begin to move ions (previously in a stable state) between the layers of this sandwich.
Coming in motion, the ions take part in an electrochemical reaction, the result of which is the darkening of the glass surface.
As soon as the supply of electricity stops, the ions return to their starting point, the reaction ends, and the glass returns to its original form.
The rate of the electrochromic chemical reaction is not affected by an increase in the current applied to the glass contacts.
A couple of minutes are enough to darken a small panel; sheets of a solid size can gain color up to a couple of tens of minutes.
When the color of the glass changes, an interesting phenomenon called the “rainbow effect” can be observed. This is the moment when, during the transition from a non-working state to a working state, the darkening of the sheet surface is distributed unevenly – it begins to thicken at the edges with a gradual movement towards the center of the glass blank.
Unfortunately, the glasses we are considering do not differ in a wide variety of reproducible color shades. The most common color is blue, but those who wish can also afford bronze and green shades.
Methods of using glass with variable transparency
As long as an electric current is applied to Smart privacy glass with embedded liquid crystals, it is in a transparent state. But as soon as the tension on the contacts disappears, the image of objects on the other side of the person who is looking at them instantly disappears.
The operation of the crystals can be controlled using conventional electric current switches.
It is also possible to use other devices and methods for comfortable control of smooth or instantaneous voltage supply. Such as, for example:
- control panel for electrical appliances at a considerable (up to 50 meters) distance;
- connection to a computer program that supplies the required current and time signals to turn on the operating state;
- switching on by an impulse, which is supplied by a sensor that reacted to any movement;
- inclusion according to the planned time schedule.
The use of Smart Privacy Glass in Different Fields
- Confidential rooms:
This type of glass enhances privacy. The glass is transparent in the absence of the client, and whitens during the reception.
Advertising and projection screens:
The glasses, after pressing the button, turn dull white for broadcasting presentations on them. In addition, the materials will be visible to people from all directions.
Any advertisement can be broadcast in the evening and attract new customers. In the afternoon, transparent glasses will demonstrate the product range.
Room or office partitions:
If you need to discuss questions, you just need to press a certain button on the remote control to change the shade of the glass.
- Shower cabins:
Smart glasses are suitable for design planning. When a person enters the bathroom, the glass becomes opaque and opaque in a second.
Smart glass at the exhibition will additionally draw attention to the stand. Potential clients will see something original without passing by. The glass will show images and change color at the same time.
Smart glass in the interior:
Glass with automatic dimming in the interior can be used for glazing partitions, applied in windows. Glasses with variable transparency can be used in shower cabins.
How Smart privacy glass works with adjustable transparency?
At the first stage of Smart privacy glass production, a film is prepared that changes transparency. It is trimmed to the required size, and then 2 upper layers are cut off with a knife on both sides. Leave at least 3-6 cm of uncut film between the cut layers.
Then a layer of liquid crystals is washed off with a special solution in the cut areas, except for the conductive layer. The surface is then painted over with silver paste and dried with a heat gun. After it is completely dry (24 hours), copper contacts are glued.
Smart privacy glass device application process
Then the Smart privacy glass is prepared. It is cut off, the edges are sanded, and the glass is washed and dried. Only then does the assembly of parts begin, which resembles a pie:
- Cleaned glass.
- Bridgestone film for laminated glass.
- PDLC smart film (electro toning).
- Bridgestone film.
- Cleaned glass.
At the last stage, the assembled parts are sent to a vacuum oven heated to a high temperature for several hours. There the collected layers become a single whole triplex, which, after cooling, is used further for its intended purpose.
DIY installation of electrochromic windows with “smart glass”
Do-it-yourself smart glass of good quality will only work if the steps for gluing the electrochromic film are strictly observed. They consist of:
- cleaning the glass surface from contaminants such as dust, grease stains;
- removing the protective coating and sticking the film;
- removal of formed air bubbles with a rubber roller;
- connection of electric wires to contacts;
- removing the upper protective layer by applying adhesive tape;
- silicone contact processing and testing;
- hiding contacts behind a metal or plastic strip.
Private Glass Applications
Smart glass with adjustable transparency is applicable for mail in all industries and spheres of human activity: business centers, houses, cottages, cultural and sports institutions, transport (glazing of air and vehicles, partitions in buses), medicine, commercial buildings, office translucent partitions, conference rooms, beauty salons.
The partition can simultaneously solve a couple of tasks, for example, be a screen, a decorative piece of furniture or a window. When you touch the sun symbol, it becomes completely transparent and matte when you click on the fog image.
Smart privacy glass can be used to replace window blinds in an apartment or office, thus, prying views from the street will not bother you, and your family will not interfere with work.
Neither humidity nor high temperatures affect the properties of smart glasses; therefore they are actively used in the bathroom (shower cabins, partitions) and swimming pools, as well as in gyms and treatment rooms, massage rooms.
Smart privacy glass improves quality of life with an advance technology
The privacy glass and its infinite applications are revolutionizing the world of interior and exterior decoration, combining functionality and aesthetics, getting a sense of spaciousness and light.
It is based on advanced technology that works with the application of a small electrical current supplied by a programmed transformer. When the current passes through it, it turns to its transparent state and the liquid crystal molecules align themselves.
When it does not pass current, it returns to its natural state (opaque) guaranteeing privacy, and it can also be converted into a retro-projection screen with great image quality.
A Single product with multi-Purposes Application
Being its most used applications in contemporary architecture in futuristic buildings, combining design and functionality in a single product, and its application in partitions and partition walls between rooms and bathrooms, widely used mainly in the hotel sector in bathrooms and spas.
Thanks to their high technology, Smart privacy glass integrated with polymers can change their state from transparent to opaque instantly, by remote control, creating a private environment whenever the user wishes.
We can operate Smart privacy glass with various control devices:
- Remote control
- Home automation
- Opacity level dimmers
- Closing and opening doors
- And others
Advantages of smart switchable glass:
- Immediate control of privacy
- User comfort and safety
- Aesthetic and attractive
- Protection of valuable objects
- Easy and low maintenance
- Low voltage
How does smart privacy glass work?
The operation of electronic glass is based on the polarization of microparticles in an electromagnetic field, under the influence of which the glass surface changes the main characteristics: light transmission and transparency. In this case, an electric voltage is applied to the glass surface through a hidden wiring.
There is a polymer liquid crystal film between the glass sheets. Generally, without electricity, the liquid crystals in it are converted to a solid state, thus looming in a random pattern of blotches that scatter the light rays. Due to these properties of the liquid crystal film, a matte surface is obtained.
A continuous transition
The transition occurs instantly, and there is no semitone. But you can make this transition smooth. With this option, under the influence of different values of the electric voltage supply, it is possible to regulate the desired degree of transmission of light rays slowly, gradually increasing their haze.
Variable transparency glass technology converts from opaque to transparent in a fraction of a second, providing instant privacy. Furthermore, it is appropriate for private spaces in the home, for example:
- a winter garden
- a spa area, and
- Even a bedroom to hide from unwanted prying eyes.
Privacy smart Glass: Scope of application
Unique smart technology is often used in an:
Glass with variable transparency is used in various fields. The structure can be designed and manufactured taking into account the needs of the customer: as a window, a partition for zoning a space or a full glass wall.
Smart glass for windows is used in the interior design of:
- meeting rooms and conference rooms
- for equipping workplaces for employees of shops
- Ticket offices, bank employees and other institutions.
Products based on smart glasses are used in interior solutions for cafes, restaurants and bars. Subsequently, partitions from them protect the exhibits of museums and art galleries from the sun’s rays.
The adjustable level of opacity of the glass surface allows the use of this material in the automotive industry: for creating internal partitions, inserts into hatches.
Partitions and windows with smart glasses are widely used in the interior design of private houses and cottages. They are used for glazing rooms, loggias, attics and effective zoning of space.
- elite country house and multi-level apartment
- in the premises of business centers and offices
- In banks and meeting rooms.
Adjustable tinting is gradually gaining popularity: it is an artificial darkening of Smart privacy glass that can be used for the car and the interior. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that the glass darkens at the request of its owner. There are different types of films and shades, which allows you to choose the color for different interior.
Pros of bathrooms with Smart privacy glass walls
The idea of glass bathrooms is realized both in country houses and in apartments of very different sizes, because such a solution allows you to achieve the desired result for several reasons:
- Transparent walls do not visually divide the space into zones. Moreover, so small apartments or bedrooms combined with a bathroom seem more spacious.
- Similarly, you can take treatments in daylight.
- If the windows have a beautiful view of the metropolis or nature, it will be especially pleasant to lie in the bath with a spectacular panoramic view.
- Through glass walls, you can watch TV or admire the fireplace right from the bathroom.
- In the evening, the illuminated bathroom can be used as an exotic lighting.
- Smart glasses can be used in double-glazed windows if the windows in the bathroom are located on the side of the facade.
- No need to worry about finishing glass walls on both sides.
- You can place the bathroom anywhere in the house, completely or partially separating it with smart glass.
Benefits of using smart films
Many office buildings have Smart privacy glass walls inside that give the impression of an aquarium, but at the same time they can delineate the territory, letting in enough light into the hall. On the one hand, this is not bad.
But on the other hand, it is not very convenient for meeting rooms when passing employees are distracting or it is important to maintain confidentiality of the conversation. In this case, you can turn on electronic tinting, which will hide what is happening in the room from prying eyes and will indicate that the meeting room is busy.
This is not a bad move for a reputable company, as it will highlight the technical literacy of the management and good taste.
How much switchable privacy glass cost?
How much does electronic tinting cost depends not only on the purchase volume, but also on which company in which country is engaged in the production of this product. On the market, most often you can find American and Chinese films, the second is much cheaper.
An average privacy film may cost around $45 to onward.
The price of smart glass will depend on several factors, firstly, it is the type of glass, ordinary silicate or diamat glass with increased transparency, and secondly, it is the thickness of the glass and its dimensions. On average, you can buy smart glass in the range of $ 900. for 1 m 2.
Darkening glass from electricity has become a pretty good solution when there is a question of confidentiality and convenience. Automatic darkening of glass is achieved by supplying electricity to the contacts of the film, which is glued by the triplication method.
In addition, the dimming of the window panes makes it possible to change the look of the room in a matter of seconds. Auto dimming of windows from electricity is possible by pressing a button, or connected to a smart home system.
Electro drive on smart films
Many companies mainly focus on the production of tinting for cars, but it is quite possible to order the film of the right size, which is suitable for home glass or office partition.
Some manufacturers sell the material in rolls; the buyer can cut the desired shape according to the pattern. This is convenient if you are going to edit the film yourself or if you have to do a lot of work.
If you are looking for inexpensive electronic tinting, China has a fairly large selection.
Manufacturing technology of smart privacy glass
To obtain smart glass with variable transparency, manufacturers use triplex technology:
- the basis of the product is triplex – a three-layer structure made of sheets of ordinary glass or polycarbonate, between which a polymer LCD film is installed;
- outside, on both sides, the sheets are covered with a protective film, which prevents the material from scattering into fragments upon impact;
- Another important element of smart glass is a conductive layer that creates an electric field that affects the crystals.
The operational characteristics of the finished structure depend on exactly how the layers are arranged. Material variations generally differ in the type of laminate used.
Great Modification with Adjustable Transparency
Basically, modifications with variable or adjustable transparency are made. In contrast to the simply changing transparency, which changes abruptly: from transparent to matte and vice versa, the adjustable version allows you to change the degree of matte in halftones.
The user can set the degree of transparency that suits him: nothing is visible through the glass surface, only blurry outlines are visible, as if you are looking through a dull veil, everything is visible, etc. Variable level of transparency of windows or other designs is based on smart glasses adjustable by increasing or decreasing the applied voltage.
Window films wide range of colors and resistance
Window films are available in a wide range of colors to better meet the needs and personal tastes of each customer. You can choose the transparent film to create brighter environments, or choose darker ones to give more privacy to yours homes.
The window films as well as being beneficial to health are very useful for creating intimate environments and blocking external gazes with its line of frosted films. Furthermore, they will block the view outside, but inside will remain a clear and clear view of the outside.
To decorate your windows, you can customize the films with the designs and patterns you like best to create the decorations of your dreams.
Smart window films provide better safety
Generally, the Smart privacy glass films are very resistant, even against atmospheric phenomena and shocks, moreover they do not require particular maintenance, and in fact it is enough to wash them with normal glass detergents.
Smart privacy glass are highly controlled and tested products to ensure greater safety for you and those around you, in case of any glass breakage, the film will continue to exert its sealing action by retaining all glass fragments .
EVERYTHING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT TRIPLE GLAZED WINDOWS
Since you are inquiring about possible solutions, I’m sure you have heard of triple glazing.
It is on everyone’s lips, it is the fashion of the moment.
It is so common that I can imagine everything that cowardly salespeople told you:
- Triple glazed windows are the latest technological gimmick in the field of windows
- Triple glazed windows are the best ever
- The triple glass guarantees greater insulating performance
- The triple glazing will save you a lot of money
Okay, very tempting statements, too bad that, if not really lies, they are at least omissions of the truth.
Home automation doesn’t just address the electrical aspects of lighting. It requires a perfect switchable Smart privacy glass for unending advantages. In this way, in the event that a storm is about to arrive, we can close those left open even if we are not at home at that moment.
In recent times, however, there is more and more talk about smart glasses. Moreover, specific reference is made to electrochromic glass, a solution capable of bringing numerous advantages for those who decide to exploit it.