Innovative view due to adaptive glass facade

    In addition to optical properties, innovative facade solutions must also meet a wide range of everyday requirements. Glass facades made of electrochromic solar control glass offer the possibility of adapting facades to external weather conditions at the push of a button without impairing the view to the outside.  

    In offices and residential buildings, daylight is one of the central aspects for a pleasant room atmosphere. However, unlimited sunlight may be problematic for the indoor environment. Conventional solutions such as venetian blinds protect against excessive heating, but they also influence the amount of daylight entering the room. A remedy is to be found in the electrochromic process, which glass manufacturers such as EControl-Glas GmbH & Co. KG from Plauen have recently begun offering to protect users from the sun without sacrificing comfort. Special dynamic solar control insulating glazing, or adaptive glass for short, uses the reaction of electochromism to cause molecules within this insulating glazing to change color continuously with the aid of a current flow. Depending on the model and manufacturer, this small electrical voltage pulse can be used to dim glass facades to different shades of blue, which then absorb more or less of the unwanted solar radiation as required and transform it into long-wave thermal radiation. These thermal rays are then reflected by the thermal protection layer in the insulating glass, preventing the building from heating up.   

    Dynamic solar control insulating glazing consists of at least two, preferably three panes. The pane facing the inside of the building is the heat-insulating glass pane, while the two outer panes form the electrochromic unit. With suitable DC voltage, lithium ions migrate along the electrochromic layer on the polymer film and discolor it blue. This makes it possible to darken what is actually transparent glass within seven to 20 minutes, depending on the manufacturer, size and outside temperature. Depending on how long the electrical voltage is maintained, the desired darkening can be regulated individually. Reversing this voltage cancels the discoloration of the adaptive glass and the pane becomes transparent again. Since a power supply is only required for ion migration, the manufacturer states that power consumption can only be expected to be less than two watts per square meter.

    The process can be controlled either manually by means of a switch or by integrating the control technology into the building system itself. It is also possible for the adaptive glass to react independently to changes in solar radiation with the help of a built-in sensor.  There are many possible uses for this innovation, for example, window elements, skylights or entire facades can be equipped with the glass. According to the manufacturer SageGlass, electrochromic glass has a durability of around 30 years. However, the high investment costs can be partially offset by the reduction in energy costs for regulating the indoor climate inside the building.

    In addition to its use in the exterior facade area, the glass can also be used in the interior design of properties. Visually restrained room dividers or entire walls made of adaptive glass allow rooms to be individually designed as required. Rooms flooded with light and seemingly designed without visible walls can thus create a pleasant room climate and support trusting working practices in office buildings.