Home Energy Management Electronically Tintable Glass & Its Potential for Your Hotel

Electronically Tintable Glass & Its Potential for Your Hotel

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Glenn Hasek

I learned this past week that about 18 to 20 percent of a building’s energy footprint is from windows and that part of their job is to help manage infrared rays, UV rays and visible light. Many of you may have known that already. Did you know that most of the sun’s heat comes in the form of visible light? That is why closing curtains and shades when guestrooms are vacant can certainly help some with heating and AC. Blocking UV light can help reduce the fading of carpeting, furniture and artwork. Walk the floor of HITEC and you will discover an increasing number of companies making it easier to close shades automatically. Window film can be a highly effective tool in reducing the impact of the sun. So too can double or triple pane windows, natural light barriers such as trees, or the way the building itself is positioned directionally.

I had an interesting chat this past week about windows with Joseph Harary, President and CEO, Director, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary for Research Frontiers. I will never look at windows the same again. Research Frontiers is the maker of electronically tintable SPD-SmartGlass. SPD-SmartGlass was first used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles about nine years ago. While using the glass, which goes dark in its “off” mode, Mercedes-Benz discovered that it reduced the inside temperature of its vehicles by 18 degrees when the cars were sitting in the hot sun. This increased driver comfort, reduced strain on the air conditioner and improved gas mileage. Research Frontiers has since found many other applications for SPD-SmartGlass, including hotel windows.

With SPD-SmartGlass, there is no longer a need for shades, blinds or even curtains as it can shut out 99 percent of visible light, be as clear as your typical window, or any shade in-between. It can be used wherever glass “windows” light—atriums, conference rooms, guestrooms, lobbies, etc.

How Does SPD-SmartGlass Work?

SPD-SmartGlass includes a film laminated inside the glass. With a low voltage charge the tint of the window can be adjusted to any shade. The charge aligns tiny particles in the thin film. Tint shade can be adjusted with the touch of an iPad or iPhone, from a wall switch, dimmer, motion detector, light or temperature sensor, Zuli or other smartplug and can be easily integrated into any building control system. Harary told me a motion sensor adjusts the tint of the SPD-SmartGlass in his office.

Using a product such as SPD-SmartGlass can reduce heating and cooling requirements and protect interior furnishings and artwork from fading. There are no moving parts with SPD-SmartGlass. “There is no maintenance,” Harary says, adding that a building owner can right-size mechanical rooms and equipment by using SPD-SmartGlass.

Is SPD-SmartGlass an out-of-reach expense? Harary says SPD-SmartGlass, which qualifies a project for LEED points, is affordable and becoming more affordable. Research Frontiers currently licenses the technology to various companies including SmartGlass International. Those interested in learning more about SPD-SmartGlass can also go to www.smartglass.com and complete the contact form.

Research Frontiers is not an advertiser. The company simply has a product that I believe can be a game changer in hotels—a great tool for furthering a property’s environmental impact.

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