In an age of smartphones, smart TVs and even smart refrigerators it was only a matter of time before smart glass would be next.
Owatonna-based Viracon, a single-source architectural glass fabricator, is introducing PLUS Smart Glass powered by Halio. This glass is a breakthrough self-tinting smart glass solution that incorporates California-based Halio’s proprietary electrochromic technology into Viracon’s insulated glass units. Hailo – formerly Kinestral Technologies. – was founded in 2010 and specializes in electrochromic technology integrated into windows, maximizing daylight while optimizing energy savings, reducing solar heat gain, and minimizing glare.
According to Garret Henson, Viracon’s vice president of sales and marketing, the glass sets a completely new bar for electrochromic glass, optimizing occupant comfort by autonomously adjusting tint levels so that energy consumption is reduced while natural light is maximized.
In simplest terms, the glass tints itself based on weather and sunlight, eliminating the need to constantly adjust blinds inside office buildings, academic facilities and healthcare centers.
“A very low voltage is applied to the glass to allow it to begin to tint on demand. The glass infinitely tints itself to the exterior environment,” Henson said, adding that the idea of using a window covering to block out a view is depressing for glass people. “This glass can eliminate blinds because the glass itself does all the work.”
According to a Viracon press release, the Hailo technology enables a “crystal clear view of the world” while un-tinted and a cool, neutral gray when tinted. Proprietary, cloud-based control combined with loT sensors, a rooftop sky cam, and a large internet pip enable rapid, incremental response to changing conditions outside, inside or even via automated demand response from the utility company. Halio CEO Bruce Sohn said the partnership with Viracon will enable the technology to reach its full potential.
“As the technological leader in electrochromic glass, with years of development underlying these breakthroughs, Halio is committed to producing the most advanced solution that excels in both form and function, delivering the world’s most beautiful smart glass,” Sohn said. “With Viracon PLUS Smart Glass powered by Halio, we are arming architects and develops to meet the challenges of climate change without compromising beauty of window-to-wall ratios.”
The smart glass is the first technology roll out from Viracon PLUS, an umbrella brand that Henson said they launched in late June. With Viracon PLUS, Henson said they are looking to partner with innovative technology startups like Halio to bring new products that are intertwined with Viracon’s glass and windows.
“It’s all about improving the performance of a window,” Henson said. “Each unique product will come from hunting down a strategic partner to bring the technology to us. We are quite excited with the whole idea of helping startup companies find a home, so when we find one with really interesting technology like Halio we just know it’s going to be good.”
Viracon PLUS is designed to fuel state-of-the-art architectural glass technology and bring those technologies to market faster, according to the press release. Through the program, Viracon partners with leading technology companies to introduce game-changing new products that will “shatter the status quo” of high-performing architectural glass.