To adapt society for climate change, it's all about energy efficiency.
If we focus too much on solar, wind, and other alternative power sources, we're leaving a lot of wasted energy in the margins.
This is why the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have partnered with Glass Dyenamics to develop advanced glass technology that tints when an electric charge is applied.
And now it's available for residential homes, at prices "equivalent to widely available premium glass," said Co-Founder and CEO of Glass Dyenamics Christopher Angelo, who is also the former CFO of Silicor Materials, in an emailed statement to IE.
Dynamic Glass will offer climate impact, at scale
Controlling the rate of heat energy flowing in and out of buildings is quickly becoming an integral part of sustainable measures taken by private industries, to make offices more energy efficient by controlling the flow of heat through windows. Crucially, this next-gen dynamic glass is nearly affordable for the average consumer.
"Our glass is available to consumers today at prices equivalent to widely available premium glass such as frosted or patterned glass," said Angelo, to IE. "We are entering the market with glass for front entryway door, sidelight, and transom windows and will scale manufacturing over the next twelve months."
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And this increased availability comes at an apt time for the DOE, since "existing dynamic glass companies have thus far prioritized commercial building market sales and high costs have limited market adoption," read a press release shared with IE. "Affordable dynamic glass represents an enormous opportunity for climate impact by improving consumer and disadvantaged community access to energy-efficient technologies, thus accelerating the clean energy transition."
In other words, it aligns with current policies in the Biden administration to accelerate novel technologies capable of confronting increased energy needs — especially amid growing supply chain worries in the wake of the Ukraine conflict. "This first residential installation showcases how consumers can gain access and familiarity with advanced dynamic glass technology, while the company further develops and scales its products for mass adoption," read the release.
Dynamic glass can offer homeowners up to '20 percent' in energy savings
A recent report from the NREL and Berkeley Lab shows that dynamic windows in residential neighborhoods could eliminate 78 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year by 2030. That's the energy equivalent of 9,393,008 million homes — more than $19 billion in savings on utility bills.
In case you missed it, this represents an average energy bill cost per household of $2,060.
"This also represents an exciting opportunity for us to support the development of domestic clean energy manufacturing and employment,” said Ram Narayanamurthy, program manager of the DOE's emerging technologies program, in the release. Glass Dyenamics hopes its new glass systems will offer homeowners up to 20 percent in home energy savings — a value proposition reminiscent of rooftop solar power.
Critically, residential home dynamic window systems could constitute a value-proposition that's one-third the cost of solar, with no subsidies. "Our vision is that dynamic glass will be broadly adopted as a part of a lower cost and lower risk solution to achieve significant residential home energy efficiency either as a compliment or alternative to rooftop solar," said Angelo, in the release.
Taking a step ahead of the sustainability curve
"While residential rooftop solar market penetration is less than 1 percent nationally and subsidy dependent, the energy efficient window market growth precedent from zero to over 90 percent market share combined with our target price point, federal legislation such as the Dynamic Glass Act of 2021, and smart home wiring trends give us significant optimism about dynamic glass’ adoption and climate impact potential," added Angelo.
So far, the dynamic glass has passed field tests for more than 100,000 cycles under ASTM environmental durability conditions — which makes this a major first step toward wider use of the technology. So while solar and wind power are experiencing rapid change to suit our needs at urban scales, individual homeowners can take a step ahead of the curve, by cutting energy waste at the source: in our very windows to the world we want to save.