Composite for smarter windows

Residential and commercial buildings account for about 40% of energy use and about 30% of energy-related carbon emissions in the United States1. To decrease this energy demand, materials are needed that help to regulate the heating and lighting requirements of buildings by responding to environmental changes. In particular, electrochromic window materials, which change colour and/or transparency when subjected to an electric field, could significantly reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Brian A. Korgel is in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, Texas Materials Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.