Scientists are developing a new kind of ‘smart window’ that can block out heat when the outside temperatures rise.
The advance could one day help consumers better conserve energy on hot days and reduce electric bills.
According to a study published by American Chemical Society’s journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, scientists are pursuing smart windows that can respond to a variety of cues, including electricity, gas, light and heat.
Those that are sensitive to heat are particularly useful for cutting down on energy use – when it gets hot outside, the windows turn an opaque white to block unwanted heat from entering a building while still allowing light to pass.
They become transparent again as temperatures drop. But current methods for making these windows use jelly-like materials called hydrogels that swell in the heat, which hurts performance.