Now you see it, now you don’t! Basically, that’s how switchable privacy glass behaves. The technology can be particularly valuable on those days when the sun appears undecided; shining strongly for several minutes and then suddenly hiding behind the clouds. The glass provides excellent convenience allowing you to continue with your work without having to pull your blinds up and down.
Also popular is electrochromic or smart glass – switchable privacy glasses work by switching from light to dark (or clear to opaque) and back, at the push of a button. Quite simple; if it’s too bright inside your office, just press a button and the glass will switch to “dark” thereby allowing less light to enter the room. If it becomes a little too dark inside, press the button again to switch to “light” mode. Aside from the convenience, the technology comes with several environmental benefits.
How exactly does it work?
Glass, even the simplest one, is an invaluable component in construction. Without it, our homes and offices would be dark, cold, damp, and dingy. However, ordinary glass also has a few drawbacks. For instance, it lets in too much light/heat into offices and living spaces, even when you don’t need the light/heat.
On a blinding summer day, a lot of heat enters buildings, necessitating air conditioning. This is not only costly but environment unfriendly. This is why most homes and offices are fitted with curtains and blinders. Yet, attending to blinders and curtains, keeping them clean and replacing them every few months, is also expensive. Switchable privacy glass protects you from the burning heat without subjecting you to the nuisance of curtains and binders. In an increasingly technological world, this is perfectly understandable.
Ordinary windows are made from single vertical glass panes while double-glazed windows have two separate glass panes separated by an air gap designed to improve heat insulation as well as enhance sound proofing. More sophisticated windows are made from low-e, heat-reflective glass coated with a thin layer of metallic chemicals making them quite effective at keeping interior spaces warm in winter and cool in the summer. Smart glass works almost like the low-e glass except that the metallic chemicals used are more sophisticated. Moreover, the metallic oxides in smart glasses are deposited using an advanced process, similar to how integrated circuits are made.
On the surface facing your home/office, switchable privacy glass has a double-sandwich of five ultra-thin layers. A separator sits between the inside and outside faces with an electrode lining either side of the separator. Completing the structure are two transparent electrical contact layers sitting just behind the electrodes. Lithium ions that migrate back and forth between the two electrodes via the separator help to turn the glass transparent or opaque. When voltage is applied, the ions move through the separator to the outermost electrode where they scatter away incoming light thereby turning the glass opaque. Reversing the voltage causes the ions to move back to their original positions and the glass turns transparent.
Installing switchable privacy glass is not expensive
Smart glass, just as you would expect, is more expensive than ordinary vertical panes. Prices vary depending on the manufacturer; you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 per square meter (some are also cheaper or more expensive). Still, this is expensive considering that ordinary glass panes cost less than $100/metersq.
However, if you consider the features and benefits, the higher prices of smart glass panes are fully justified. Smart glass isn’t ordinary glass. These are very durable pieces of glass that are specially designed to protect interiors from exposure to the sun, cutting back on energy loss while effectively providing high levels of privacy.
Tag Wall, LLC now has the best smart glasses
Tag Wall, LLC employs the latest architectural technologies to manufacture trend-setting custom glass as well as other design-driven finish details. Contact us today on 212.354.9255 for information.