Window design has had its share of hits and misses in recent years as scientists have rolled out new "smart" technologies. Mirrored windows seemed like a good idea at the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas until light reflecting off the building created a solar "death ray" that burned guests lounging by the pool and melted plastic cups [source: ABC News].
Sensational snafus aside, however, revolutionary nanotechnologies are shedding new light on plain old glass windows. "Smart" windows treated with ultra-high-tech nano-coatings will soon be as energy-efficient as walls, says green engineer Jerry Yudelson in an interview with Wired.com [source: Barrett]. Liquid crystal, suspended particle (SPD) and electrochromic technologies are duking it out for market share. Although the technologies operate in different ways, the effect is similar. These windows can change their appearance from frosted to translucent or can darken themselves with the flip of a switch. Homebuyers who invest in homes with these new intelligent windows will never need to dust blinds or shop for curtains again.