Buildings would save energy on air conditioning if they installed smart windows that change color to block out sunlight on hot days. Some smart windows are on the market, but they are expensive. A new one-step method for making window coatings of transparent color-changing nanowires could simplify and bring down the cost of the window manufacturing process.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, buildings use 71% of the electricity consumed in the U.S.; about 30% of that load comes from the electricity needed to make up for energy lost through windows. Electrochromic windows, which darken or lighten depending on the voltage across them, could help by darkening to block heat transfer from infrared light.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald