SAN JOSE, Calif. — Inside a factory near Memphis, Tennessee, workers are building an unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change: a smart window.
“Well, like everything in life, well, we look back after you’ve experienced the modern thing, and you go, ‘Well that was pretty dumb,'” says Rao Mulpuri, CEO of California-based View.
Mulpuri describes the window of the view as the transitional glass of the building. They track the sun throughout the day, automatically changing colors to control light and heat. This allows buildings to use less electricity for heating and cooling.
“Buildings consume about 40% of all energy,” Mulpuri said. “They use about 70% of all electricity. And if you want to solve for carbon and climate change, you have to solve for buildings.”
According to the International Energy Agency, operating buildings account for about 27% of annual global-warming carbon emissions.
Smart glass can help reduce a building’s energy demand by around 20%, according to Energy Department figures. The Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year includes tax credits to boost that smart technology, which currently costs about 50% more than regular Windows.
Smart windows consist of a microscopic coating that is attached to computer chips and can be controlled by an app. They are now installed in a dozen US airports, including hotels, hospitals, office buildings, apartments and a new San Francisco International Airport terminal.
“You don’t feel the heat beating on you, especially when you want to provide an environment that has a lot of natural light,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar Satero.
At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, tests conducted by the company showed that seats near View’s smart windows were 20 degrees cooler than conventional glass.
“Every window should be smart,” Mulpuri said. “Once you experience it, you can’t think of life any other way.”
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