From: Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Published June 30, 2017 12:01 PM

Self-powered system makes smart windows smarter

Smart windows equipped with controllable glazing can augment lighting, cooling and heating systems by varying their tint, saving up to 40 percent in an average building’s energy costs.

These smart windows require power for operation, so they are relatively complicated to install in existing buildings. But by applying a new solar cell technology, researchers at Princeton University have developed a different type of smart window: a self-powered version that promises to be inexpensive and easy to apply to existing windows. This system features solar cells that selectively absorb near-ultraviolet (near-UV) light, so the new windows are completely self-powered.

“Sunlight is a mixture of electromagnetic radiation made up of near-UV rays, visible light, and infrared energy, or heat,” said Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and the Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering. “We wanted the smart window to dynamically control the amount of natural light and heat that can come inside, saving on energy cost and making the space more comfortable.”

Continue reading at Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Photo: Graduate student Nicholas Davy holds a sample of the special window glass, which harvests one portion of the light spectrum to control other parts of the spectrum. Specifically, it uses near-ultraviolet light to generate electricity, which powers chemical reactions that lighten or darken the glass as needed. When darkened, the window can block more than 80 percent of light. (Photo by: David Kelly Crow)

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