It was quite surprising that this topic would be covered in an article on BusinessWeek. Glass and shades in an office building are quite peripheral in importance to most businesses, other than possible ROI calculations in reducing energy bills. It is heartening to see that other factors are being considered when considering the possibilities of window solutions.
Some of the drawbacks to shades whether automatic or manual:
- inertia – once shades are lowered, people are too lazy to raise them back up
- darkened rooms lowers moods and productivity
- darkened rooms means use of lighting during the day
Electro-chromic glass seems to be the next step in these types of solutions. We have covered them somewhat on the blog, noting their use in the Boeing aircraft 787 windows
as well as innovative architectural buildings
. This type of glass allows for user-level override control as well as top-level uniform control by the system operator to set the darkness of the window to the desired levels depending on the situation.
Unfortunately, the cost of this next generation window shading solution is still prohibitive. As with any new technology, broad adoption, competition, and production will lower costs to a level where even regular homeowners can enjoy the freedom and control of windows without shades.