Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
How Much Do Smart Glass Windows Cost?
Everything evolves. Look at everyday items in our homes. We have smart TVs, smart appliances. It should be expected that we will have smart glass. Even windows are changing. Smart glass brings windows into the 21st century. A major question for homeowners is how much does smart glass cost?
The installation of smart glass in the windows in your home will cost $35 to $150 per square foot. Replacing the glass in your windows with pre-filmed glass will cost $50 to $150 per square foot. If you have smart film added to your existing window glass, the cost should be about $25 to $50 per square foot.
|Type of Smart Glass||Low Installation Cost||High Installation Cost|
|Switchable Smart Glass||$50 per square foot||$150 per square foot|
|Smart Glass Film||$25 per square foot||$50 per square foot|
|Electric Window Tint Film||$7 per square foot||$110 per square foot|
|Installation Costs||$15 per square foot||$30 per square foot|
There are other considerations than just price when deciding on smart glass installations for your home. There are different types of smart glass from which to choose. Different types of window film can be applied as well. Lastly, will you hire a professional or do the installation yourself? Each of these factors deserves your understanding and consideration before you make your final decisions.
Table of Contents
- What is Smart Glass?
- What Does Smart Glass Typically Cost?
- Smart Glass Tinting Films
- What Is Involved in Installing Smart Glass in my Home?
- What Other Features Are Available with Smart Glass?
- What Are Some of the Benefits of Installing Smart Glass?
- Going Smart – Windows Catch Up with the Smart Home
What is Smart Glass?
The term smart glass covers a lot of ground. Smart glass typically refers to any glass that offers insulating properties as well as light-blocking capabilities. In most cases, smart glass also can change the transparency from clear to translucent.
The light transmission qualities of smart glance can be changed and controlled automatically or manually. In many instances, smart glass windows eliminate the need for window treatments such as blinds, shades, or curtains.
You can install smart glass controlled electrically, by temperature, or by the light level you desire in the space. Most homeowners opt for electrochromic smart glass that can perform several functions. The glass can go dark, adopt a mirror-like surface, or become opaque as necessary.
What Does Smart Glass Typically Cost?
Smart glass costs are dependent on the type of smart glass you choose. There are three types of smart glass most often chosen by homeowners. Each type of smart glass gives you slightly different options and features.
|Smart Glass Type||Low-Cost Options||High-Cost Options||Benefits|
|PDLC Smart Glass||$85 per square foot||$150 Per Square Foot||Gives a frosted look when turned on|
|SPD Smart Glass||$50 per square foot||$150 per square foot||Instant window tint at the push of a button|
|Electrochromic Smart Glass||$50 per square foot||$100 per square foot||Adjustable tinting that happens gradually|
PDLC Smart Glass
Generally, PDLC is the most expensive option when considering smart glass. You can expect a PDLC smart glass installation to cost between $85 and $150.
PDLC smart glass is the only option that turns completely opaque, giving you total privacy. PDLC glass is perfect for bathrooms, shower enclosures, and private offices. Some people have used PDLC glass as television projector screens.
PDLC technology uses crystals that are both liquid and solid. Different manufacturers have different names for the PDLC glass products. You may hear them referred to as
- Electric Frosted Glass
- LCD Glass
- Electric Privacy Glass
They all use the same basic technology. When the electronic control is turned off, the crystals are active, and the glass appears frosted. Turn on the electronic controls, and the crystals appear clear. Some manufacturers offer controls that allow you to control the opacity of the window
SPD Smart Glass
Installing SPD glass is a bit cheaper than PDLC smart glass. In general, it costs $50 – $150 per square foot to install SPD glass. You may find SPD smart glass a bit cheaper with some diligent shopping.
SPD smart glass won’t provide you with complete privacy. In general, the level of tinting with SPD smart glass is controllable, from minimal shading to a very dark look. This is accomplished using suspended particles that are brought into line when an electric current is applied. SPD smart glass is dimmable, meaning you can control the level of tinting.
One advantage of SPD smart glass is its heat-blocking abilities. When the particles are fully aligned, giving the most light blocking, they also reflect heat. This makes SPD smart glass a wise choice for exterior windows where heat gain can be a problem.
Electrochromic Smart Glass
Electrochromic smart glass is, by far, the cheapest option for installing smart glass in your home. The average cost range to install electrochromic glass runs from $50 to $100 per square foot.
You won’t get the instant response from electrochromic glass that you will get from SPD or PDLC smart glass. When you change the translucence of electrochromic smart glass, the glass takes a few minutes to react. Some people find this a much more agreeable process than an instant change.
Don’t confuse electrochromic glass with photochromic or thermochromic glass. Photochromic and thermochromic products change by reacting to heat or light. Photochromic glass is more familiar as transitions eyeglasses that darken as the light intensity increases. Neither of these products requires electricity to work. They are also not controllable.
Smart Glass Tinting Films
You may also opt to have a professional apply smart glass window tint film to your existing windows. In general, applying smart tint film is cheaper than glass and will run between $7 and $110 per square foot.
Several manufacturers offer this window tint film with various trade names. These products come in several different application types and with different features. In general, installing a smart tint film is not a do-it-yourself project.
Most smart tint films available today use liquid crystal technology. When electricity is applied to the film, the crystals in the film align and allow light to pass. When the electricity is off, the crystals randomize and block light from passing. This is much like PDLC glass.
Installing Smart Tint Film
You can buy small kits to install on a single window and apply the film yourself. Overall, we suggest hiring a professional installer to apply electric tint film to large windows or doors. You can budget between $15 and $30 per square foot for a professional installation job.
What Is Involved in Installing Smart Glass in my Home?
Installing smart glass in your home is much like replacing a standard windowpane or door panel. Depending on the style and type of window or door unit, this can be as easy as removing a few clips and slipping in a new piece of glass or as difficult as rebuilding the entire window or door frame. This explains the installation costs ranging from $15 per square foot to $30 per square foot or more.
There are other costs as well. Wiring must be run to each window to connect the smart glass to the controller. The installation of the control unit must have an electrical supply to power the entire system. These are all costs that you should consider when budgeting for a smart glass installation project.
Suppose you contract with a company to install smart glass in your home. The estimate you receive should include providing and installing the smart glass for your windows and doors, all wiring and control units, and clean up and disposal of the old glass.
What Other Features Are Available with Smart Glass?
Different manufacturers offer different features with their smart glass products. Overall, you can expect to find these options available with your smart glass installation.
- System Control Stations – All smart glass installations will include a controller of some kind. The controller connects to the smart glass and sends the right electrical current to the window based on your settings. Some of these controllers use digital interfaces, while cheaper models rely on knobs to set the level of shading on the smart glass.
- Remote Control – Most smart glass controllers now include a remote control that allows you to change the settings on your smart glass from anywhere in your home. More expensive models will allow you to control individual windows or set up groups and zones.
- Scheduling and Programming – Many smart glass controllers include software that allows you to schedule changes in your smart glass. For example, suppose you have large west-facing windows. In that case, you might program your smart glass controller to gradually increase the tint on those windows as the direct sun begins to hit them in the afternoons.
- WIFI Connectivity – You would suspect that your smart glass controller would connect to the internet in this age of the internet, and you would be right. Many controllers feature WIFI connectivity and smartphone apps that give you control of your smart glass from anywhere.
In the age of convenience and connectivity, smart glass manufacturers are on the cutting edge of technology. You should assume that soon the controller of your smart glass system will interface with your smart home systems as well.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Installing Smart Glass?
There is no doubt that smart glass can be a huge investment in your home. However, since the lifespan of smart glass is 15 to 20 years, this cost can be amortized over a considerable period. In addition, you may see savings in your utility bills. Of course, any upgrade such as smart glass adds value to your home. In general, the benefits of smart glass include some of these features.
One of the largest causes of heat gain and loss in a home is inefficient window and door glass. This is especially true if you have east and west-facing windows that get direct sunshine during parts of the day.
Smart glass can provide some energy savings by blocking the infrared heat rays during parts of the day. This can directly affect your heating and cooling costs over time. Using a smart controller to schedule your smart glass for the most energy savings is another feature that many people find effective.
Reducing Accessory and Maintenance Costs
Installing smart glass allows many people to do away with costly blinds, shades, and curtains. Window treatments of this type require lots of maintenance like cleaning, dusting, and repair. Smart glass windows can reduce or eliminate these kinds of additional costs. You also save valuable time by doing away with these chores.
Going Smart – Windows Catch Up with the Smart Home
The growth of smart home technology allows greater control of many facets of our daily lives. Smart appliances save money and operate more economically. Smartphones allow us greater freedom and the ability to stay connected. A smart home can operate the HVAC system in the most efficient way possible to maximize comfort and financial savings.
Smart glass fits into this new technological paradigm by working with you and these other parts of the entire smart home system. Smart glass can enhance privacy and promote the efficient operation of the other parts of your smart home. In the long run, smart glass will become a standard part of most homes, especially new homes built with these advancing technological improvements.
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