Smart glass (or switchable glass) has properties that can change in response to external stimuli. Typically, its light transmission properties are altered when a voltage, light or heat are applied. Smart glass switches either automatically or manually and can be used to manage glare, the amount of heat or light transmitted and so on. Technologies include; electrochromic, thermochromic, SPD and PDLC (see below).
Increasing demand for efficient utilisation of energy among building managers, owners and construction companies is fuelling the smart glass and window market globally. In addition, rapid demand for smart glass in the automobile sector has resulted in significant production of fuel efficient smart glass with low emissivity. Special features such as the ability to block UV light and fast switching capability, mean that smart glasses can be preferred over normal glasses. In addition, smart windows reduce heat formation within vehicles and ensures passenger safety.
The smart windows market is dynamic and emerging as the future technology, with application areas such as power generation, construction and automotive among others. However, the high price of smart glass is a significant concern for end users and is restraining the growth of the market.
By technology, the market can segmented broadly into: active and passive:
- Active smart glass and windows held the largest share of the market globally in 2014 and accounted for more than 80%. These glasses are easy to operate and can change light transmission properties with the help of a single switch. Thus, they have found applications in the construction and transportation sectors. The active segment has been further divided into polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLC), suspended particle device (SPD), electrochromic and others. The suspended particle device segment had the largest share of the active smart glass and window market in 2014, owing to wide application in automobiles and airplanes.
- The passive segment is further classified into passive photochromic and passive thermochromic. Passive photochromic smart windows provide a broader range of dimmability and have many potential applications in the architectural sector. This segment had the largest share of the global market for passive smart glass and window.
In terms of applications, the global market for smart glass and window can be divided into four segments: automotive, aircraft, construction and marine. The automotive sector held the largest share of the market in 2014. Increasing demand for fuel efficiency, better adaptability and control of light along with passenger privacy and protection from radiation are some of the major factors boosting the demand for smart glass and window in automotive sector.
By geography, market is segmented into four regions i.e. North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (RoW). North America had the largest share of the global market in terms of revenue in 2014 and accounted for more than 30% of the overall market. The market in North America was primarily driven by increasing technological development and rising consumer awareness about energy conservation in U.S. and Canada among others. Europe held the second largest market globally and accounted for more than 25%. The market in this region is driven by architectural developments along with the existence of large glass formats.
Some of the key players in smart glass market are Smart Glass International Ltd., Raven Brick LLC, Glass Apps, Gentex Corp., AGC Ltd, Research Frontiers, Inc., SPD Control System Corporation, Pleotint LLC, SAGE Electrochromics, Hitachi Chemicals Co. Ltd, Scienstry Inc., SAGE Electrochromics, PPG Industries and View, Inc among others.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Engineering Smart Cities.
- EVA film.
- European connected and smart home market.
- Internet of things.
- Low voltage driving PDLC film for smart glass.
- PAS 180:2014 Smart cities – Vocabulary.
- PAS 181:2014 Smart city Framework.
- PAS 182 Smart city data concept model.
- Smart airports.
- Smart city.
- Smart cities design timeframe.
- Smart construction.
- Smart greenhouse.
- Smart kitchen appliances.
- Smart meter.
- Smart technology.
- The smart buildings market.
Featured articles and news
An introduction to the categories, procedures and types of listed buildings.
This Australian robotics firm have developed a bricklaying machine capable of building a house in 3 days.
20bn devices will be online by 2020, generating huge volumes of information. Is society making the most of this rich data?
Built over a period of 632 years, Cologne Cathedral is considered one of the world's finest examples of Gothic architecture.
UandI adds £1.5bn to development pipeline.
Here are 5 things leaders can do to create a truly circular economy.
Find out about the different types of delays on construction projects.
Researchers at Wien university have developed new system to create an inflatable concrete structure.
ICE responds to the first consultation on the government's industrial strategy post-Brexit.
Take a look at this newly-opened tower in Chicago with a remarkable 20:1 height-to-base ratio.
The principles, practice and formwork of one of the most important components of modern architecture.