A Pilot Demonstration of Electrochromic and Thermochromic Windows in the Denver Federal Center, Building 41, Denver, Colorado
Chromogenic glazing materials are emerging technologies that tint reversibly from a clear to dark tinted state either passively in response to environmental conditions or actively in response to a command from a switch or building automation system. Switchable coatings on glass manage solar radiation and visible light while enabling unobstructed views to the outdoors. Building energy simulations estimate that actively controlled, near-term chromogenic glazings can reduce perimeter zone heating, ventilation, and air- conditioning (HVAC) and lighting energy use by 10-20% and reduce peak electricity demand by 20-30%, achieving energy use levels that are lower than an opaque, insulated wall.
This project demonstrates the use of two types of chromogenic windows: thermochromic and electrochromic windows. By 2013, these windows will begin production in the U.S. by multiple vendors at high-volume manufacturing plants, enabling lower cost and larger area window products to be specified. Both technologies are in the late R&D stage of development, where cost reductions and performance improvements are underway. Electrochromic windows have been installed in numerous buildings over the past four years, but monitored energy-efficiency performance has been independently evaluated in very limited applications. Thermochromic windows have been installed in one other building with an independent evaluation, but results have not yet been made public.