Smart Windows

January 20, 2016

The market for household systems and appliances controlled through WiFi signals has been growing over the last several years. Whether an individual is setting the thermostat or brewing a cup of coffee, using smartphones to turn things on or off is becoming routine, and some of the basic components of homes not previously considered for “smart” applications are now being controlled by our telephones. One such house component that has become Wi-Fi compatible is the window, and it has branched into two paths—energy efficiency/privacy, and security.

Andersen Windows (www.andersenwindows.com) has taken the security path with the company’s E-Series windows and patio doors. These units include pre-installed, concealed Verilock sensors, which tie into the home’s security system and can allow consumers to remotely monitor their homes for break-ins or if a window is locked or unlocked.

On the other path, several companies have branched into creating privacy windows, windows that transform from clear to opaque with the flip of a switch (or the tapping of a smartphone). A 2015 article by EH Network (www.electronichouse.com) mentions three manufacturers of WiFi-enabled windows—Sonte Film, Smart Tint, and InvisiShade. Both Sonte Film (www.sonte.com) and Smart Tint (www.smarttint.com) are after-market products that can be applied directly to existing windows in the home. InvisiShade (www.invisishade.com) comes pre-installed within the window. All of these products are triggered by electric currents that transform the windows to a privacy setting, and all can be controlled in multiple ways, including through the use of switches, dimmers or smartphone applications.

Looking beyond privacy, one selling feature of these windows and window films is that of energy savings. By switching on the privacy setting during certain times, passive heating from direct sun exposure can be reduced or eliminated, thereby reducing cooling costs during the summer months.

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