How Smart Windows Work

By: Kevin Bonsor
These SwitchLite Privacy Glass™ windows go from clear to translucent in an instant.
Photo courtesy SwitchLite Privacy Glass™

If you live in the United States, you've probably heard recently about the impending energy crunch that is facing Americans. In the next 20 years, U.S. energy consumption will increase 45 percent for electricity, 62 percent for natural gas and 33 percent for oil, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE also says that energy supplies will be unable to meet demand for the next two decades. For consumers, this means paying higher prices for electricity, natural gas and oil.

While much of the country is concentrating on ways to increase its energy supply, some researchers have been working on new low-power-consuming technologies. Among these new technologies are smart windows, and we aren't talking about Microsoft's operating system. This exciting, cutting-edge window technology allows consumers to block either all light or just some by simply turning a knob or pressing a button. This type of light control could potentially save billions of dollars on heating, cooling and lighting costs (research indicates that approximately 2 percent of all the energy used in the United States is "consumed" by residential windows).