Sustainable Energy

Electronic Window Shades

Long a lab curiosity, “smart windows”-energy savers that darken in response to an electric current-appear headed for U.S. commercial production in the fall of 2001. Sage Electrochromics of Faribault, Minn., has teamed with 3M and the Center for Ceramic Research at Rutgers University to develop a process in which five thin layers of ceramic, totaling only one fiftieth the thickness of a human hair, are baked onto glass panes. Application of electricity to the coating causes the window to tint; the higher the voltage, the darker it gets. Turning the dimmer knob all the way causes the window to block up to 95 percent of light. Similar glass has been used in automotive rearview mirrors, but there have been obstacles to high-volume production of large panes suitable for homes and offices-obstacles Sage says it has now overcome. The glass was developed with $3.5 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Technology Program.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.