Installing smart windows can mean much more than indulging in a modern luxury for your home. These design-forward shades with their automatic technology are both useful, energy-conscious and can even improve home security.
Add the perfect finishing touch to your smart home by installing motorized windows that can open and close on command, work on a set schedule and even use room occupancy as an indicator of what action it should take. Similar to smart lighting systems, smart window systems offer many benefits to homeowners who are seeking convenience, energy conservation, and improved security. They also add a touch of luxury to any home which makes them a high-priced purchase. Installation in one room can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of windows present.
Different smart window systems are available, for both blinds and shades. Despite their functional and material differences, both work excellently in a smart window setup. As a quick overview, read the differences between blinds and shades below:
1. Made from a hard material such as metal, wood, plastic, or a composite material;
2. consists of vertical or horizontal slats which can be set to restrict or admit light, closed completely to block out light and provide privacy, and opened completely for full window exposure.
1. Made from soft material such as fabric;
2. consists of a solid piece which can be rolled or pulled up to allow light in, or rolled or pulled down to block light out and provide privacy.
Below, we discuss the different type of automatic window systems available for your home.
Types of Electric Window Systems
Electrochromic Window Systems
Made from glass only, these smart window systems use voltage to change their opacity. Used to block out UV and infrared light, these can also be used as a complete smart window system. Once charged, the metal oxides change color which makes the glass see-through or dark. Unlike some other smart window options, electrochromic systems only require one electric charge to change its opacity instead of an electric charge throughout.
Photochromic Window Systems
Initially used in sunglasses, photochromic technology was likely to make its way to the smart window market. Requiring no electric charge, these systems change opacity based on its exposure to the sun.
Thermochromic Window Systems
If you like mood rings, you’ll be really impressed with thermochromic window systems. Using the same tech as mood rings, the opacity of these windows will change based on temperatures.
Suspended Particle Systems
Suspended particle systems work much differently than other smart window systems, although they achieve the same outcome. To switch between a clear and tinted opacity, an electric charge is needed. This charge reacts with a liquid that is filled with particles and attached to one of the glass layers or suspended between the two. When floating through the liquid, the charge keeps the clarity low, but as soon as the charge is fed, it allows for light to pass through by making the particles form organized lines.
Micro Blind Systems
Like traditional blinds, these blinds can roll up to let light in and down to block it out. The only difference is that micro blinds are so small that it can’t be seen by the naked eye and it’s placed within the glass. These tiny, metal blinds work with an electric charge. When applied, it rolls down to restrict light from coming in, although it can’t block it out completely.
Should I Install Smart Film or Smart Windows?
If you’re on a tight building budget or already have an amazing home that you just want to improve, you should opt for smart film. Smart Film is an add-on adhesive film that can be attached to an existing window. It serves the same function as smart windows, but at a lower cost and with less of a hassle than rebuilding existing windows.
Smart Windows, on the other hand, has to be installed traditionally. If you want to add true luxury to your home, breaking out existing windows and installing these is the option you should go with. It’s also a practical choice if you’re building a new home.
Benefits of a Smart Window System
Although smart window systems are still developing, they already offer a lot of benefits! The bonus of them still being in the early stages, is that there is room for a ton of new features to be developed. Some existing features include the ability to check the status of your windows from remote locations, having automated control over it, eliminating the need for other window coverings, overall improvement of your home security, more control over energy conservation, and the potential to generate solar power through your windows. Because the systems have no pull cords, there is no risk of your children or pets for strangulation which is another great safety feature.
Smart window systems will be a great addition to your smart home, but as with all things smart-home related, the biggest drawback is the cost. Estimated to cost up to 50% more than traditional window solutions, many homeowners simply can’t afford to have them installed. Luckily, as technology improves around these systems and they become more widely available, they’ll also become more affordable.