Looking to create a true zero-energy system for window tint, researchers at Nanyang Technological University have created a smart window that becomes darker or lighter without using external power – an improvement from current smart windows that can dim automatically but need to connected to electricity. The study, published in Nature Communications, outlines how the device uses liquid electrolytes placed between two glass sheets to provide consistent dimming capabilities.
Not only will the zero-power solution cut costs associated with adjusting window tint, the researchers have shown that the dimming capability can cut light penetration by about half in bright daylight – promising savings on building cooling and lighting costs. In addition to the desirable light transmission properties, the device also functions as a rechargeable battery that can illuminate low-power technologies such as LED bulbs.
“Our technology is very attractive as a zero-sum consumption smart window,” says professor Sun Xiaowei, lead researcher on the project. “Building owners and even common households can reap energy savings right from the outset and over the long term. Developers who are looking at constructing environmentally-friendly green buildings will find our technology attractive for their plans.”