The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
February 4th, 2018

The Window of the Future: Harnessing the Power of Glass

The world is in a race to make everything smart. Nowhere was that more evident than at CES this past January, where we were introduced to technologies that touched every corner of the home, from connected appliances and door locks to more surprising smart products, such as ceiling fans, mattresses, scent diffusers and garage door openers.

Controlling every element of your home with your voice is not too far off. But what’s the smart play for windows? We’ve already seen windows linked to security controls and sensors, and consumers, if they desire, can control interior shades with their smartphones. There are even more expensive versions that can sense the light coming through your window and adjust the tinting accordingly.

These are big steps forward for us as an industry, but I believe we’ve only just begun exploring the possibilities of what the window of the future might look like. What’s the next big thing for us?

In my mind, it’s power-generating windows. I have been watching this technology unfold over the past five or so years, with companies and universities working toward a solution to our current solar panel options that are bulky and take up space on roofs or racks.

There are people not just asking, but answering the question: What if there were another way? What if every window in your home or building could generate power?

While early attempts to make solar panels transparent resulted in unattractive, visually distracting prototypes, the technology is now getting more sophisticated and is inching toward commercialization. We have reason to believe that not if, but when this technology is perfected, we will experience the first big revolution to hit the fenestration industry in decades.

The View from Here is that technology has no bounds if we keep searching for new answers to old problems and seek more energy-efficient, sustainable building materials that can be made cost-effectively for consumers. I’m excited to see what comes next.

What’s does the window of the future look like to you? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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  1. Future window to me is your large picture window in the living room with a TV projection in the glass

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