Electrochromic glass

Electrochromic glass is the largest smart glass market today and is unlikely to be dethroned anytime soon. For those unfamiliar with the technology, in its most common form it ranges from a light or pale yellow to a deep dark blue (as a result of the electrochromic layer of tungsten oxide, as shown in the diagram below), starting at the edges and moving towards the interior.


Block out the light and heat to replace the curtains and maybe even the air conditioner, but it’s expensive. According to research by IDTechEx, the starting price is estimated to be between $ 400 and $ 800 per square meter, depending on the size of the project, compared to $ 300 per square meter for low-emissivity float glass (glass coated with a special layer for energy efficiency). This is attributed to the vacuum deposition process used during its manufacture, which consumes a lot of energy (i.e. generates a hefty electric bill) and is ultimately why I don’t expect my friends to show it on their barbecue this summer. . .
But maybe another reason you wouldn’t have this in your home is the color – it’s blue. While market leaders are betting on health benefits (simulates daylight, which can improve mental health and productivity), this seems like an afterthought of marketing. In fact, new entrants might say this: Kinestral Technologies, a US-based start-up backed by AGC, has commercialized a more neutral gray-colored smart glass that can be more easily integrated into the building envelope. and gain acceptance from architects in advance. the areas. This could be the key advantage that differentiates the company in a market dominated by few players (blue).

Despite some flaws, the electrochromic glass market is clearly starting to take off and the trend of increasing project size reflects this. For example, a few years ago, one of the largest projects of View Inc, a US-based electrochromic supplier, was approximately 2,500 m2 (healthcare facilities in Toronto, Canada), and in 2018 the company is installing approximately 9,200 m2 of glass in the America Center II in San José. Customers are increasingly aware of the benefits of this technology and, as a result, are willing to pay for the value it adds.

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