Green Building Innovation and Design

Windows that Outsmart the Elements

Written by Staff Writer

New research from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oxford takes energy efficient windows a step further by proposing a new “smart window” design that would harvest the sun’s energy in the winter to warm the house and reflect it in the summer to keep it cool.

The film is made up of an optical stack of materials less than 300 nanometers thick, with a very thin active layer made of “phase change” materials that can absorb the invisible wavelengths of the sun’s light and emit it as heat. That same material can be “switched” so that it turns those wavelengths of light away instead.

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Paul Kovach

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Staff Writer