How much does smart glass costs? Smart Glass can generally cost $50-$100 per square foot utilized, a good deal more than regular untreated glass that usually costs $10-$15 per square foot. It can actually end up saving you money in the long run, however, and because it generally can be applied onto any kind of glass you can use it in a wide range of ways, from office spaces to houses, even cars and airplanes! Before going into detail about how smart glass can be used, it makes sense to discuss why it is smart to utilize it.
I’ve summarised some very rough potential calculations of the cost of installing switchable glass for a variety of use cases.
|Switchable Glass Use case||Dimensions||Estimated Cost|
|Office Meeting room||7ft * 8ft||$2800 – $5600|
|Bathroom (window)||2ft * 4ft||$200 – $800|
|Lounge||5ft * 6ft||$1500 – $3000|
|Cars||2ft * 4ft||$200 – $800|
|Boats (small cabin)||1ft * 1ft||$50 – $100|
|Planes (window seat)||1ft * 1ft||$50 – $100|
|Summer House||7ft * 10ft||$3500 – $7000|
As for running costs, here is again a very rough calculation of the running costs for switchable glass based on a number of scenarios. Keep in mind that this can fluctuate dramatically based on the size of the installation and how much your electricity provider charges for electricity.
|Switchable Glass Use case||Watts Per Hour||Estimated Cost per day|
|Office Meeting room||3w||$0.5|
|Office Meeting room||5w||$1|
Keep in mind that switchable is opaque when not powered on. So if you going to favour keeping the glass in the off state (opaque) and infrequently changing it to clear (on state) then your bills are likely to be much less. The figures were based on 8 hours of continuous usage.
What is smart glass?
Smart glass, or as it is also known, “Switchable glass“, is glass that can change from transparent (see-through) to opaque (looking, “Coated,” or unable to see through) or light to dark/tinted. This sounds like magic, but it is actually electrochromic metal oxide coating. This electrochromic technology is coated on the glass in a manner thinner than a strand of human hair and thanks to the, “Electro,” part of its name can actually be controlled via means like Wi-Fi to, “Transform.” Other kinds of smart glass do exist (polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal), but generally, you will find electrochromic metal oxide coating utilized, so it is the focus here, although when polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal is used it has many of the same benefits discussed throughout this piece.
Smart Glass is more effective than even heavily coating glass at stopping light getting through (more on why this is useful in a moment), and is a great alternative to only slightly-useful blinds, shades, etc.
Ways in Which Smart Glass Is Useful
The market for smart glass has steadily grown over the years to meet an equally rising demand for a market that wants it to be easier to control light as well as heat, implement privacy options, and in general be more energy efficient. These three factors are the biggest attractions of smart glass and deserve to each be explored…
Light and Heat Control
Having glass that lacks any coating can provide gorgeous views when you look outside the window. However, in a hot Summer month, it can create an unbearably hot greenhouse effect. On the flipside, windows with heavy-duty coating are fantastic for when its blazing hot outside, but then in the Winter let so little sunshine in you’ll feel like you are freezing without cranking-up the thermostat. Plus, in a busy office, the glare from a bright day can be a pain, and should you want a nice noon nap in a home with sunlight pouring in that’s a pain as well. This is where smart glass comes in.
Blinds and shades can only block so much sunlight or reduce the heat to a certain degree. Having smart glass, however, can block-out up to 95% of the sunlight when desired, or let all that light in should you want to have a clear view outside and in. Smart glass can make sure you get as much light and heat as possible in the Winter and as little that you desire in the Summer.
When you want privacy in your home you need to draw all the blinds and offices that need to have a secretive meeting (confidential data being discussed) may have to find a suitable space. Should an office be able to take a regular meeting room and activate the glass to the room to become opaque, however, a meeting room can be fantastic for discussion of information everyone or just a few key people should see, and a house can go from being open and visible to having little visibility to those outside when desired (such as nightfall). Hence, with smart glass, you can be as public or private as the situation calls for.
This one is pretty obvious after discussing the first two factors. After all, if you are letting more light in during the Winter, you won’t need nearly as much heat running, and if you block that greenhouse effect during the Summer, your air conditioning will see a lot less usage too. Smart glass helps the environment by being a great deal more energy-efficient than simply having regular windows, and that saves money in the long run. Speaking of saving money, that actually brings the focus to the next subject, how smart glass ends up being a great source of savings.
How Smart Glass Ends Up Saving You Money
Smart glass can be expensive to install, but as with many things that have a higher base cost, it later can save you a great deal. For example, in a house with big windows that require automated curtains or shades, those can break and require repairs often, whereas smart glass glazing lasts for 20-30 years when externally coated and 30-50 years when internally coated!
This long product lifetime also is fantastic when one considers how shades and blinds only block a small amount of light, and let a lot of heat from the sun still build-up inside the house, as they are installed internally. The same goes for those internal offices, that can spend money retrofitting a room to be for private meetings or building a whole new space for such a meeting, or can simply install smart glass and have a space perfect for open or, “Closed,” meetings. When applied to vehicles as well this helps with costs–heating, privacy, etc. Basically, smart glass has a higher cost to start with, but the savings over time really add-up!
Facts About Materials, Installation, and Upkeep
Smart glass is glass, it just is glass with an electrochromic metal oxide coating. This material leads to higher costs and can require finding a company that is capable of installing such glass. It should also be noted that maintenance for smart glass is not too much different from regular glass as long as it has some protective coating as well to make it safe to clean. As with regular glass, rubbing your hands on it will leave a mark (due to oils in human skin) and using a cloth with a cleaning solution can fix that concern. As with regular glass, a paper towel is not the best idea as the material is harsher. Essentially, common sense is the best tool, with anything you wouldn’t do to regular glass applying to smart glass as well.
Different Uses for Smart Glass
Office Spaces – estimated $2800
As was touched-upon before, an office space can use smart glass in ways that not only help with energy efficiency, but it can provide more desired privacy when called for due to discussions that are confidential. Instead of having to build offices designed for these talks, a regular office full of windows can have them switched to turn opaque and hide any Powerpoints or displays with data an office wants secret (new products or ideas that competitors could steal). It can provide privacy for other times that may require it, like in an attorney’s office where a heated divorce meeting could be taking place, or if a celebrity signing an endorsement deal would rather not have a whole office staring at them during a meeting. There are countless possibilities where the privacy provided by smart glass can be helpful to an office.
Homes – estimated $1500
The trend of making homes, “Smart,” continues to grow. People want to automate their doors, thermostats, kitchens, and now they can do it to their windows with smart glass! Between the energy efficiency, privacy features, and how it is another great feature to easily tweak along with everything else, smart glass is becoming quite popular when it comes to implementing it in the home. Plus, it can be used for interior purposes as well, such as making a bathroom have a lot more privacy thanks to turning any windows in that room opaque, or even the shower if someone needs to enter the room to grab something and a person showering would prefer to have their privacy maintained!
Cars – estimated $400
Cars can benefit from smart glass in a number of ways. When it is bright and sunny, being able to make your tint a lot darker may be appealing, especially when a car is parked on a hot day. Plus, a limo might like the ability to be clearly visible in-and-out or heavily tinted depending on who is riding in the back.
Boats – estimated $50 (per window)
A small boat may not have too many windows or any that are especially large, but big yachts would find smart glass very useful. The ocean can be extremely bright and sunny, or a celebrity on a yacht concerned at paparazzi snapping pictures of them would probably like the privacy of smart glass too.
Planes – estimated $50 (per window)
It sounds odd at first, but smart glass on planes can have a number of uses. Instead of barely-effective shades a bit of smart glass can allow flyers to press a switch and find sun gone on their long flight–allowing some sleep to hopefully combat jet-lag! This can also help keep an airplane suitable cool or heated as needed too.
Where can I get smart glass?
Here’s a few American based companies you could contact for a quotation on your smart glass instalation:
Concusion/Smart Glass: A Useful Choice
Smart glass is a technology that finds itself steadily growing in demand and popularity. As more and more people recognize it is useful for light and heat control, privacy, and is greatly energy-efficient it is desired. Plus, even though it has a higher installation cost it saves a great deal of money in the long-run. Smart Glass is not for everyone, but in many cases, it is a wise choice to have.