Window and Door May-June 2012 : Page 42
➤ THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE —New Glass Technologies Promise More Energy Savings A rendering showing what a photovoltaic insulating glass unit would look like and how it would function. DYNAMIC GLAZING Windows with dynamic glazing allow building occupants to manually or automatically control a window to change from clear to dark to meet the optimal solar control requirements of the day or season. Photochromic, thermochromic and electrochromic glazings are advanced technologies, using either chemical or low voltage currents to modulate near infrared and visible light transmittance. These changes allow the glass to block solar heat in the tinted state to reduce cooling requirements, and transmit light in the clear state to reduce lighting and heating costs. Although these technologies have been available for some time, the combination of performance, aesthetics and pricing have limited their architectural use. Recent advances suggest the potential to improve the overall value proposition and availability of dynamic window technology before 2014. The electrochromic glazing that is available today requires wiring and electrical infrastructure. That suggests these products might succeed in the new construction market ﬁrst, because of the easerir install. Sunrooms and Florida rooms with large panels would seem to be particularly good candidates for this type of dynamic glazing. Other technologies–including photochromic and thermochromic glasses–use chemical processes to change shading. They typically do not require the electrical infrastructure and could be more easily integrated into remodeling and replacement fenestration products. BIPVs Another emerging technology is the use of building integrated photovoltaics that can capture the light from the sun and turn it into energy. The ideal photovoltaic window would be designed around a standard insulating glass unit. Within the air cavity sits a system of optics and PV cells. Already in place for commercial applications, manufacturers can incorporate the same 42 | Window & Door | May 2012 technology to capture the sun’s rays to be transferred and used to supplement or potentially replace electricity delivered to a home via the traditional power grid. As with electrochromic glasses, electrical infrastructure requirements will make BIPV products more of a challenge to install in the remodeling and replacement market. In general, commercial applications will lead the way when it comes to ﬁrst large scale applications of BIPV and dynamic glazing. The value of these technologies is immediately higher in the commercial market due to the relative glass area compared to the residential segment. Commercial and architectural applications, however, will provide valuable lessons that will enable suppliers to help scale solutions for residential applications. Looking into the window of the future you will begin to see a hybrid of coatings and other technology—used in both the North and South—that will include vacuum, dynamic and photovoltaic glass. The same technology we use in our smart phones or tablets will also be found in IGs for touch screen functionality to control a room’s temperature, turn on the lights, check our email or watch the news. As an industry, we also will see greater collaboration between glass manufacturers, window makers, window dealers, architects, homeowners, builders and remodelers to ﬁnd the right glass for the right climate, matched with the most cost efﬁcient aesthetically pleasing hardware. Collaboration will also continue between the private and public sector, as industry continues to advise the code makers on what is feasible and what the proposed codes will cost. People today are demanding a well insulated home at a price they can afford without sacriﬁcing beauty or charm. In 5 years, 10 years or 20 years, that will not change. As the United States looks for ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we will focus on making our building and homes more energy efﬁcient. In the years ahead, consumers will have choices. Choices that save and even create energy, are cost effective, provide protection from the environment and add to the design and charm of a home. Andrew Russo is director-residential market segment for Guardian Industries, the glass manufacturer based in Auburn Hills, Mich. The sup-plier of ClimaGuard high-performance glasses for the residential window and door market, the company also manufactures a variety of glass for the architectural, solar, automotive and decorative markets. It’s Science and Technology Center in Michigan employs more than 100 glass scientists and technicians devoted to inventing new glass products, improving existing ones and transferring technologies developed for other segments (electronics, solar, commercial, lighting, interiors) to residential windows in North America.
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