SPD: smart glass being used in architectural projects worldwide

SPD Inc. revealed on 19 May 2003 several recent architectural projects incorporating its advanced glass whose opacity can be controlled automatically or manually by the user. In glass that uses SPD-Sm…

SPD Inc. revealed on 19 May 2003 several recent architectural projects incorporating its advanced glass whose opacity can be controlled automatically or manually by the user. In glass that uses SPD-Smart film, developed and patented by Research Frontiers Incorporated, the light transmission levels between clear and dark can be changed to control the degree of privacy as well as the amount of light, glare and heat passing through the glass. Automatic control is achieved through a sensing device such as a photocell, or the user can regulate the applied voltage which controls the opacity of the glass. Because of its special performance characteristics, aesthetics and its ability to be combined with a variety of glass and plastic materials, designers and architects are now using SPD-Smart glass on a wide range of new commercial and residential architectural glass applications. In a recent installation at the Jakarta, Indonesia office of a top accounting firm, more than 1,000 square feet of SPD-Smart glass was used on three floors of an office building. As well as SPD-Smart windows and office partitions, the project also features meeting rooms that use curved panels of glass forming a circular enclosure. The installation uses 34 large SPD glass panels and Lutron(R) controllers to permit the interior occupants to easily regulate the light, glare and heat entering their work space, while also providing privacy for clients whenever required. Commenting upon this innovative use of glass, Sutrisno Irwanto noted “The reason that our firm used SPD glass was so that our office occupants would be able to choose between transparency, which provides the appearance of a significantly more spacious room and also an “open“ sensation, and privacy when required.” An office building in Singapore uses a bank of SPD doors and windows as part of its reception and conference room facilities. These panels complement the interior of the office, and are installed in movable windows and doors that not only can be opened and closed like ordinary windows or doors, but also can be darkened or lightened at the touch of a switch. Shane Lee of Nansin (1964) PTE LTD in Singapore which installed the SPD glass for this project, noted that SPD glass is an established part of their product line. He said “We like using SPD-Smart glass for exterior glass applications because of the energy savings and also to give the occupants precise control over the amount of light being transmitted through the windows. For our interior applications, we use SPD glass not only to achieve privacy for selected areas, but also to enhance the corporate image of our clients.” SPD-Smart glass has been used to offer functionality and aesthetic appeal in new residential settings as well. Over 200 square feet of large SPD-Smart glass panels are being used at a home in Greece to surround an outdoor swimming pool. The SPD laminated glass panels provide light and glare control and privacy for the owner and his guests, but also have impact resistance, ultraviolet radiation blockage, security, and noise attenuation as added benefits. Voula Stefopoulou of Technoplan S.A. in Greece, which worked with the homeowner on this installation, noted “One reason the owner is so pleased with this installation is for the selective privacy that SPD glass offers. This pool borders a public park and the enclosure preserves the magnificent views surrounding this residence, but also allows privacy when the owner and their guests are by the pool.” SPD Inc.“s Byoung Chan Lee noted that these new applications are some of the many installations his company is working on directly. Other licensees of Research Frontiers have also incorporated SPD light control film into a variety of their own projects for architectural, automotive, marine and aerospace applications. “Some of the initial installations focused on using SPD-Smart glass in place of traditional glass, but now more and more architects and designers are incorporating SPD variable light transmission glass into new and innovative designs.”