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Dow Corning opens window to energy savings

November 21, 2012

Dow Corning opens window to energy savings

Businesses are increasingly waking up to the benefits of energy efficient buildings, but according to numerous surveys, they are often discouraged from undertaking retrofitting measures by the cost and disruption associated with green office upgrades.

Now, researchers at Dow Corning may have come up with a technology that cannot only tackle heating, cooling, and lighting costs but also is visually appealing. The company is developing a silicon liquid crystal film for smart glazing that can make clear windows translucent at the flick of a switch. The change is achieved by rearranging molecules in the film using an electric current that can switch the appearance of glass from transparent to translucent. This can be used to block unwanted heat from the sun and reduce the need for air conditioning. Alternatively, windows can be configured to let in the maximum amount of light and heat, so less of the building’s lighting and heating systems need to be used.

“Buildings account for 40 percent of total energy consumption globally, while heating and lighting account for 50 percent of the energy consumed in buildings. Smart glazing has the potential to decrease by 30 percent the amount of energy consumed in a building by being properly combined with an automated building management system,” says Elisabeth van den Berg, global business builder at Dow Corning’s business and technology incubator.

Read more at BusinessGreen.

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