For the smart cities of the future, buildings will need smart windows that can respond to technology. And when that future comes, we’re talking about a lot of windows that will need replacing: If you count just the office buildings, homes and cars in New York, that’s 50 million windows.
Worldwide, we’re talking about billions of windows. And every single one of them is an opportunity for a healthy dose of green technology. In fact, you can stop thinking of them as windows and start thinking of them as “smart glass.”
Windows become smart glass by harnessing solar power. Engineers have made considerable headway in turning a basic, transparent piece of glass, plexiglass, plastic or other material into a small power plant. It helps to know some of the industry jargon. Tomorrow’s windows will embed dye-sensitized solar cells, which don’t convert as much solar light to energy as other technologies, but which are one of the most cost-effective solar technologies currently available.