Glass technology has been advancing over the last several years to do more than the amazing feat of letting us see through walls. Window and door manufacturers have steadily offered more double- and triple-pane products, as well as a variety of low-emissivity (Low-E) glass options that reduce the amount of heat transferred through the glass, without lowering the quality of the light.
Two new glass options are taking a somewhat different approach. Advanced materials with state-changing technology let glass darken in the presence of sunlight, while others go completely opaque for privacy.
Clear Improvement: For exterior windows, Suntuitive technology—shown on the Rehau Montana Ecosmart House—darkens in the sunlight, adding convenience to energy savings.
Innovative Glass recently agreed to incorporate Pleotint’s Suntuitive interlayer technology into Innovative’s SolarSmart insulating glass. Suntuitive is North America’s first commercially available window interlayer for laminate glass that gradually darkens in response to rising temperatures caused by direct sunlight. As the sun moves across the sky, the glass cools and returns to a clear, neutral state.
“The technology is unique in that it continually adapts to the sun with no mechanical or electrical stimulation,” says Anthony Branscum, director of architectural sales for Innovative Glass. “It’s ideal for windows, doors, curtain walls, skylights, and atria.”
Light and Private: Guardian Reveal glass improves daylighting by letting natural light move farther into a space, while still providing privacy.
To Branscum’s point, some state-changing glass uses electricity to initiate the changes. This includes Guardian Reveal, the company’s’s latest interior glass innovation. Technology triggered by a switch, motion detector, or other device causes liquid crystal particles in the glass to either align for see-through viewing or scatter to make the glass opaque.
“This is a great use of glass in environments that benefit from increased daylight but sometimes require privacy,” says Diane Turnwall, Guardian’s market segment director for interiors. She notes that hospitality, health-care, and retail segments have used the technology.
Residential designers are sure to find a variety of uses for Reveal for shower enclosures, walls and partitions, windows, doors, and entryways. Guardian Reveal also helps buildings qualify for LEED points because it’s energy efficient and helps pull daylight deeper into interior spaces.
—Lauren Hunter is the senior products editor at REMODELING. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurenHunter_HW or @RemodelingMag.