Did you know buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy use? Inefficient windows play a big role that significantly impacts heating and cooling costs.
To work on this issue, researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed smart windows. These smart windows are double-glazed windows and the gap is filled with hydrogel-based liquid, water, and stabilizing compound in between.
According to the scientists, it will solve the dual purpose. When sunlight hits these windows, the water starts absorbing the heat and simultaneously blocks it from entering the room. The presence of the hydrogel turns the liquid opaque in sunlight that further reduces thermal transmission. At night, the window turns clear again and the heat is released. As the result, lesser energy is required to cool the space.
Additionally, the use of smart windows “reduces noise 15 per cent more effectively than double-glazed windows.” The team’s calculations suggest these windows could reduce energy consumption in office buildings by up to 45 percent.
Dr. Long Yi, lead author of the research said, “Our innovation combines the unique properties of both types of materials — hydrogel and water. By using a hydrogel-based liquid we simplify the fabrication process to pouring the mixture between two glass panels. This gives the window a unique advantage of high uniformity, which means the window can be created in any shape and size.”