We work hard to maintain a reputation for innovative glass solutions, a question we are often asked is what is switchable glass?
There are several ways in which glass may be turned to opaque from transparent (and vice versa) and each method has its own application. However, when it comes to construction and design, the term “switchable glass” is usually given to electrochromic glass. So, switchable glass – what is it and how does it work? Read on to find out more.
Switchable glass or Intelligent glass uses the latest glass technology and uses electrochromic panels which switch instantly from opaque to clear and from clear to opaque at the flick of a switch. The panels contain a number of coatings or thin layers that are charged with lithium ions and when an electric current is applied to them, the electrons and lithium ions become transferred between the layers so the glass adopts a tinted look. As soon as the current stops, the ions and electrons return so the glass looks entirely clear once more.
Switchable glass of this type is popularly used in homes and public buildings, usually because the residents can fully control the levels of light and privacy. As an added advantage, electrochromic switchable glass offers many energy-efficient and insulating properties along with flexibility and accessibility that manual operation can bring.
Switchable glass can be used for many purposes in the design of buildings, however, there are two primary reasons that it is typically installed – privacy and energy efficiency.
Electrochromic glass effectively reduces the amount of heat entering and escaping via the glass surface. This means that it is frequently selected for use in modern designs that are focused on reducing carbon footprints and energy costs.
Yet, while this is an important practical application, many homeowners prefer to use it in their property’s design for the privacy that it can afford. There are many situations in which switchable glass that improves privacy can improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of the space.
In commercial buildings, offices often have shared spaces and meeting rooms with glass partitions or windows in between. Clearly, there will, from time to time, be occasions when privacy is required, with the occupants of the room wanting to prevent the rest of their colleagues and co-workers from looking in. Sensitive employee discussions and private meetings are just two of those situations.
While in the past, closing the curtains or shutting the blinds was the typical solution for the privacy problem, switchable glass is a more modern, aesthetically pleasing and speedier solution. Also, since smart buildings are becoming more popular these days for contemporary organisations, having this amount of control over the facility is ever-more useful year-on-year.
While curtains and blinds may be highly functional in hospital and medical environments, they aren’t especially hygienic. Dust can accumulate rapidly on them, while their closeness to the outdoor elements only serves to make them a rampant breeding ground for germs and bacteria. While this isn’t too much of an issue in an office or in a private home, in surgeries or hospitals where hygiene is absolutely paramount, it’s far more problematic.
Switchable glass can eliminate the issue instantly. It can also eliminate any need for physical contact since it may be controlled in several automated or manual ways with light sensors, motion sensors or timers. This will rule out the possibility of germ and bacteria transference effectively.
When it comes to private properties and domestic homes, switchable glass provides a highly convenient and practice upgrade to shower rooms, washrooms and bathrooms. Of course, it goes without saying that privacy in such spaces couldn’t be more essential, so if homeowners have the opportunity to rapidly flick on a switch to ensure nobody can look in through their windows, it’s a very appealing concept.
With switchable glass in the bathroom window, it’s possible for homeowners to enjoy complete privacy whenever they want it, but also still have the possibility of looking out at a beautiful outside view. They’ll also never again have to grasp for a towel and run to the blinds or curtains if they forget to close them before jumping into the shower!
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why switchable glass is becoming such a popular option in commercial premises and domestic homes in recent years. To find out more about switchable glass and how it could work for you, contact the Thames Valley Windows team today and learn whether it could be an ideal solution for your home or business.
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