The Ins and Outs of Smart Windows for your Home

Investing in smart windows for your home can help you save energy and money and improve your home's resale value.

Learn about the benefits and costs of smart windows for your homes, as well as three products to keep your eyes on.

Windows. Our connection to the outside world. In the age of COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing, windows—and the cheerful light they provide—are more valuable home components than ever. There is an incredible variety of “smart” technology products available for homes these days. So it should be no surprise that the technology has expanded to smart windows for your home. 

In this post, we explain the important role that windows play in an energy-efficient home’s building envelope. We also lay out the costs and benefits of smart windows as well as three particular products to keep your eyes on!

The Role of Windows in Energy-Efficient Homes

Windows are of course an important aesthetic component to every home. But they also play a critical role in a home’s energy efficiency. Windows seal a home’s building envelope. Alternately, they can compromise the envelope if gaps go unfixed.

Windows can also reduce lighting costs by allowing you to maximize natural light when it’s available. Additionally, they provide natural air circulation when opened.

Yet, many homes still their original, older windows. These single-paned windows offer minimal insulation from the heat and cold. This can be a major vulnerability for homeowners in terms of higher energy costs. In fact, ENERGY STAR has found that the average home can save up to $465 per year in heating and cooling by installing newer energy-efficient windows.

The Benefits of Smart Windows

These savings are made possible by the evolution in the design of windows over the decades. Designs have moved from single pane to insulated double pane window designs. And, most recently, smart technology is taking windows to the next level. The glass used in smart windows is designed with a special technology that can alter its shade and transparency based on the sunlight.

Today’s smart windows offer not only health benefits and more control over your home’s environment, but also significant opportunities for energy (and energy bill) savings. More specifically, smart windows for your home can provide four key benefits:

Reduce your Utility Bills

By optimizing the lighting in rooms, smart windows can help you maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. More specifically, they can keep the air cooler by filtering out the heat of the sun’s rays. In fact, research at Stanford University has found that smart windows in your home can save up to 20 percent in heating and cooling costs.

Block Infrared Radiation

Smart windows’ low-E (low-emissivity) glass also blocks dangerous UV rays. In addition to the health benefits for you and your family, this feature also contributes to their ability to regulate the interior temperature of the home. Plus, the UV filter helps prevent fading and damage of flooring and furnishings within your home.

Cut Down your Chore List

That spring cleaning list seems to get longer every year, right? Imagine no longer needing to clean your windows on a regular basis! This is possible thanks to a special titanium dioxide coating featured in smart windows. The coating works synergistically with the sun’s rays. This reaction eliminates dirt and other organic matter that would otherwise adhere to glass. In this way, smart windows for your home will save you time and hassle. They also enable you to reduce the chemical-filled cleaners you used to use to keep your windows spotless.

Take Control of Your Privacy 

Smart glass, also referred to as LCG or light control glass, makes it possible to control visibility from the outside. This provides additional control over your privacy without the hassle of blinds or other light-blocking shades. Not to mention the annoying dusting that they require! Smart windows for your home will enable you to achieve privacy without walking around in the dark.

Take Control of the Light in your Rooms

The same LCG smart glass that brings you privacy control also brings you light control. The two features work in a similar fashion, allowing you to change a pane of glass from clear to lightly shaded or darker with the simple switch of a control.

As you can see, there are countless benefits behind smart window technology, so what will it take to get you to switch?

Smart windows in your home can help you save energy, balance your home budget, avoid UV ray exposure, and cut your chore list.

The Cost of Smart Windows

The cost of smart windows for your home will vary based on the type of application you have in mind. But we’re not gonna lie. There’s no doubt that the initial installation cost can add up fast. If you’re not already needing to replace the windows in your home, buying smart windows can seem infeasible to many.

However, if you’re already needing to invest in new, more energy-efficient windows, now may be the time to look into smart window tech. Smart window pricing typically ranges of $50 to $150 per square foot of glass. But your total price will of course vary based on the brand, installer, and how many windows you’re purchasing.

Smart Window Technology on a Budget

If you are on a tighter budget, you might consider an alternative to completely replacing your windows with smart windows. That alternative is “smart film.” 

The technology in smart film does differ from that in smart window glass. But it can produce similar results if you’re simply looking to forego the curtains. The most common engineering technique for smart film leverages Particle Displaced Liquid Crystal (PDLC). This makes the film and your window clear when voltage is applied. When the voltage is removed, windows turn opaque. This provides privacy and light blockage. You can adjust the amount of voltage required to change how opaque your windows become.

Smart film is an effective option if you already have energy-efficient windows and are simply seeking the dimming control that smart windows provide.

Products to Keep Your Eyes On

With the innovative technology that goes into smart window design, it can be hard to know where to start when researching smart glass. To give you a jump start, below are three well-regarded brands smart windows for your home (or similar alternatives):

  1. View Smart Windows. These windows equipped with 4 tint shades that help reduce glare, control the climate, and provide privacy when desired. You can easily control these smart windows with your smartphone. 
  2. Innovative Glass Smart Windows – These windows offer a variety of styles. Homeowners can customize them to enhance the look of your home while enjoying the technology and energy savings of smart windows for your home.
  3. Sonte Smart Film. This is a budget-friendly alternative that fits onto existing windows and comes at a fraction of the cost of smart windows. Just as with smart windows, you can control this smart film’s tint remotely via smartphone. 

Get Smart, Save Money

Within the ever broadening category of smart windows for your home, there are options to suit practically any budget, lifestyle, and climate. Their upfront cost may be higher. But they are an investment that will pay off in energy savings, home resale value, upkeep, and comfort over the long run. 

If you’re not ready to invest in smart windows (or any new windows for that matter), we provide five pro tips to improve the energy efficiency of your existing windows. There are many other opportunities to create a smart home, from smart thermostats, to smart plugs and lights, to smart home hubs and speakers. For more product recommendations and strategies to save energy and money, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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