Smart Windows: an Added Value for both Guests and Hotels

EHL Students - Bachelor | 21 Apr, 2016

Everything is getting "smart". First it was phones, TVs and watches. Today it's cars and homes, including showers, thermostats and kitchen appliances. According to Dr. John Barrett by 2030 we will be interacting with up to 5,000 smart objects a day.

Watch his full intervention: The Internet of Things: Dr. John Barrett at TEDxCIT.

Among these new technologies are smart windows. Smart glass has been around for decades, but it has always been quite pricey and has found only niche applications. However, today things are about to change

Companies such as View or Sage Glass have understood the potential of such technology and are competing in developing the best energy-saving smart windows. Affordable pricing and more versatile technology are the new drivers for entering the market.

Smart glass technologies can be based on various type of devices like:

  • Electrochromic can change the opacity of a window in response to voltage and thus allow control over the amount of light and heat passing through.
  • Photochromic allows a reversible change of color of a window glass upon exposure to light.
  • Thermochromic allows equipped window glasses to change color due to a change in temperature.
  • Suspended particles are integrated in a thin film placed between two pieces of glass. The organization of the particles are controlled by voltage thus blocking and absorbing light or letting light pass.
  • Micro-blinds are composed of rolled thin metal blinds on glass, invisible to the eye. It also controls the amount of light passing through in response to applied voltage.

Whatever the technology used, the aim of these sophisticated intelligence engines is to adapt to the user and its environment. It automatically responds to outdoor conditions and people's preferences and can be controlled individually from a mobile device.

The way people think, consume, live, and perceive reality is changing rapidly. What will be the impact on hospitality? Discover the 6 most important developments that will change the hotel industry for good.

This exciting, cutting-edge technology creates new possibilities for the hospitality industry, by giving it the chance to lower long-term fixed costs, to increase value for the guests and to meet its sustainability objectives.

Hotel and meeting rooms can have greater glass areas with continuous views free from heat and glare. The usability of lobby and lounge areas improve because of intelligent tint control and more natural light. Guestrooms can be also tinted when guests are away to conserve energy and ensure comfort.

When installed, smart glass creates climate-adaptive building shells, with the ability to reduce annual energy costs (up to 20% in annual electricity consumption and 23% in cooling peak) for heating, air-conditioning and lighting and avoid the cost of installing and maintaining motorized light screens, blinds or curtains.

Moreover, the building envelope creates a comfortable indoor climate for both employees and guests which in turn improves mood and productivity, essential in an industry where human capital accounting for 90% of a company’s operating costs and guests satisfaction being one of the critical success factors.

Those windows are usually made with the same mechanical structure. However, hotels can customize their smart windows to match any kind of architectural designs as well as the size, shape, and thickness of the building without losing their unique identity.

Several major organizations and institutions have already installed smart glasses in their buildings, including Hilton Universal City in Los Angeles and The Curtis DoubleTree Hotel in Denver.

Author: Paola Bellia - EHL Bachelor Student 

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