The Pros and Cons of Smart Privacy Glass

Unlocking the potential of windows, Smart Glass is a groundbreaking technology that can drastically increase the versatility of any space- yet despite its many advantages there are some limitations that should be considered.

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Smart glass, or switchable glass as it's also known, is an innovative technology that can transform a plain window into something much more versatile. It consists of two or more sheets with embedded PDLC liquid crystal film and electric current traversing it from side-to-side. When the electricity flows through, the crystals will automatically align which makes the glass go clear, giving you transparency. In the absence of electric current the crystals scatter the light and the glass becomes frosted - giving you privacy on demand!

These smart windows have many applications: meeting rooms, shop windows , office dividers, hospitals, schools and luxury homes all make use of this unique technology. Despite these incredible advantages there are some limitations of smart privacy glass that you should be aware of before making your decision; here we'll discuss their pros and cons so you know exactly what to expect out of this remarkable material before investing into one for yourself.

The PROs of Smart Glass and Smart Film

1. Instant Privacy

With Smart Glass, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable living or working environment while preserving your privacy.

2. Blocks UV rays

Not only does smart glass let in just as much sunlight as traditional float glass, but its superior technology blocks over 95% of UV-rays – far more than regular float glass which blocks just 55%. Plus, it diminishes the need for costly air conditioning systems.

3. Low Maintenance & Convenient

Smart glass gives you a modern and convenient way to utilize your space. With the simple press of a button it can instantly transform from transparent to opaque, allowing for privacy when necessary. It requires no special maintenance except regular cleaning– just like any other window.

4. Reduces Heat Loss

Smart Glass provides an efficient solution by safeguarding your home during both the hot summer days and frigid winter months. You get a clear view through windows while enjoying the benefits of improved insulation from heat loss or gain.

5. Energy Savings

Smart glass can cut energy costs by up to 30% during summer months.

6. Ample Natural Light

Even its opaque state smart glass allows about two thirds of natural daylight through, minimizing the need for artificial light while preserving privacy.

7. Enhanced Security

Smart glass is laminated and tempered safety glass and the film layer holds the glass together in the event of breakage, protecting occupants and belongings.

8. Can Double as a Whiteboard or Rear Projection Screen

Finally, if that wasn't enough - Smart Glass also doubles as an excellent projection screen or whiteboard. Switchable glass and film are a popular choice for the workplace because they make presentations easy while adding a ‘wow factor’ to meeting rooms.

So what are the limitations of smart glass and smart film?

The CONs of Switchable Glass and Film

1. Smart Glass Is More Expensive Than Ordinary Glass

Smart Glass can be pricey, with the standard range costing from $85 - $130 per square foot. However, for more specialized applications and orders under 40 square feet you may pay up to 130 USD per square foot. Many companies have minimum orders exceeding $10,000 dollars but Smart Glass Country’s minimum order is just $2500 USD. Making switchable glass technology available to anyone, even those with smaller projects.

Smart film costs significantly less than smart glass, just $25-45 USD per square foot. Making it ideal for smaller projects and existing glass. It also is less expensive to ship.

2. Requires Professional Installation

Installing smart glass may be a bit more labor-intensive than other window treatments since it requires the skills of both dedicated glaziers or window tint installers and electricians to guarantee everything is properly connected.

3. Smart Film Is Not Ideal For Exterior Applications

While smart glass can be used on exterior facing windows and outdoors, smart film is for indoor use only. This is because the switchable PDLC layer is protected by the glass in smart glass. When smart film is applied to existing glass, it is more prone to damage just like other belongings in your home that you would never put outside. When installed and sealed properly, smart film is a very durable product that can provide privacy on demand for decades.

4. Smart Glass Consumes Electricity

While switchable film and glass enhance energy efficiency by blocking UV and IR light, they also rely on electricity for operation. So how much power does smart glass consume? Smart glass operates on 110 Volts AC power. It uses a small electrical charge that is approximately 3 to 5 watts per square meter. 

Smart Glass technology can be a fantastic upgrade for any space, but there are several considerations to keep in mind. It's important to ensure it falls within your budget and understand what is involved with installation. Additionally it should be noted that despite its growing popularity Smart Glass isn't widespread yet, so some installers may be hesitant to perform the installation if they have never worked with smart glass or smart film before. 

5. Smart Glass Isn’t Widespread

If you want to take advantage of switchable glass and its amazing benefits, it's important to plan ahead. Since this technology isn't commonplace yet, locating a local shop that can supply what you need is often impossible. In reality, most smart glass and smart film are ordered online. Smart Glass Country custom manufactures and fulfills orders across North America to everyone from homeowners to commercial properties and major government projects such as hospitals, schools and military buildings. 

Fortunately, Smart Glass Country offers the best ratio of price to quality on the market and has over a decade of installation experience. If your installer has any questions simply put them in touch with one of knowledgeable product advisors and we will be happy to share our ample resources and expertise to make your project a success.

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