Architecture is one of those rare fields in which art and science come together to compose a mellifluous harmony. Often, constructions of an era are a mere reflection of the activity on the streets they border, a product composed of social and technological excesses of their time. In the 20s, for example, Art Deco was born out of the Machine Age as well as the decade’s interest in archeology, which made it a curious combination of the modern and the ancient.
Mankind and the buildings we build to dwell and work in go hand in hand, and the further we progress, the more intelligent and flamboyant our constructions get.From the sunlit edifices of the Stonehenge to the glassical facade of the Burj Khalifa, architecture has been society’s silent expression throughout time.
There is no denying the role of glass in modern architecture. Not only is it aesthetically appealing, but it is also one of the most functional materials used in construction when it comes to providing transparency and letting in natural light. And now, as a result of our successful meddling, glass is about to elevate itself to a whole new level of function.
We’re talking about an absolutely marvelous piece of innovation – Electrochrome Glass. An innovation that is bound to alter the way we think about glass and the way it’s used in architecture.
Electrochrome Glass, as the name suggests, is a smart glass. It’s a glass that can, under a low-voltage current, change its tint and reflective properties depending on the external temperature. It can run independently or under manual control, depending on how you want it, and in a hybrid mode. The innumerable sensors installed in the glass are sensitive to the sunlight falling on the exterior face and the occupancy of the room inside. The glass then employs combinatorial logic – and decides what mode each pane of glass should be in, based on its position and direction. The possible modes are Glare Mode, Daylight Mode, Clear Mode and Tinted Mode. The outcome depends on the light sensors, the occupancy sensors, the solar angle and BAS input.
To illustrate the effects - in a building constructed with Electrochrome Glass, the east-facing zone will run on Glare control mode in the morning, making the east-facing facades tint heavily. All other zones will run on Clear Mode to maximise light within each room. As the heat outside increases as the day passes-by, increasing the load on A/C, all zones shift to full-tint mode. In the evening, as the sun is setting, the west facing walls and bottom windows will tint to block glare while all others will clear to optimise available daylight.
To put it simply, Electrochrome Glass can keep the interiors of the building snug, and the exteriors stunning. Wonderful, isnt it?
Electrochrome Glass also saves energy and lowers the electricity bill. Once it’s installed, the energy use of the building is reduced up to 20%, and the peak demand is lowered up to 30%. The need for blind/ shade maintenance is eliminated. What’s more, this glass also comes with a superior fading protection. Is it a wonder then that this smart glass earns you 12 LEED points for the building? That’s the highest earned by any other identified technology so far. Not to mention the fact that it enhances the building’s sale and rental value.
You can use this glass for office space, commercial buildings, penthouses, villas, restaurants and hotels, as well as yachts and cruise ships – even automobiles.