VIDEO: UBC researchers create new method for self-tinting windows

Smart windows conserve building energy by switching from clear to tinted, controlling heat and light

UBC chemistry researchers have developed an energy-saving and cost-effective technique for making smart windows.

Smart windows conserve building energy by switching from clear to tinted, dynamically controlling heat and light from the sun, as stated in a UBC media release.

“Conventional windows waste a third of all energy used to heat, ventilate and air condition buildings,” said Curtis Berlinguette, a professor of chemistry, chemical & biological engineering and the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute at UBC. “Smart window technologies offer the opportunity to reduce these energy losses but the main challenge is finding ways to make these windows less expensive.”

Wei Cheng led this project which was part of his postdoctorate at UBC. According to the UBC media release, Cheng found an alternative way to make glass materials that change colour in response to electricity, a technique that was co-developed in Berlinguette’s lab.

The film is transparent, but becomes blue when electric current flows through the film, hence creating the active component of a smart window.

This new method means that windows can be manufactured without high temperatures or the sophisticated vacuum equipment that are currently used to make such devices, reducing the cost, as stated in a UBC media release.

“Our technique creates a uniform dynamic coating without the need for special instrumentation,” said Cheng. “Another advantage of our method is that it is compatible with many different metals and it is scalable. We are excited to potentially fine-tune the dynamic properties of the materials to improve performance even further and make large windows for commercial use.”

Berlinguette and Cheng are committed to prove this method by making larger windows that can withstand extended periods of time.

“A commercial window needs to last many years, and we need to prove our windows can do the same,” said Cheng.

Cheng also noted that they were testing with neutral tints, such as grey instead of blue.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Glacier View residents take a ride on the river

Ground Search and Rescue guides floaters on Puntledge

Brewing up some community engagement

Insp. Tim Walton says goodbye to the Comox Valley

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Fire continues to threaten town’s only access road

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read