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The global smart glass market is expected to reach USD 8.35 billion by 2023 from USD 2.80 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 16.61% from 2017 to 2023, as per a report by MarketsandMarkets.
How is the demand for energy-efficient products creating opportunities in the market?
Poorly insulated windows account for 10%-30% of the heat loss of a building during winter. The majority of buildings utilize double-, triple- or quadruple-paned glasses, which incorporate low-emittance (low-e) coatings and gas fills. Using these glass in buildings can control the amount of light, glare, and heat transmitted through the windows while providing a high level of insulation. When used effectively, smart windows can reduce peak energy demand by impacting its consumption for heating, cooling, and lighting purposes. The use of smart windows in residential and commercial buildings can reduce power consumption by ~50%, thereby proving to be an effective technology for power optimization.
The transportation sector uses auto-dimmable smart glass proucts, which requires only a negligible amount of energy to be effective, for doors, windows, and sunroofs. The periodic increase in the cost of energy manufacturing, purchase, and storage has tremendously increased the demand for the devices or appliances that give optimum output by consuming less energy. These energy-efficient products help companies to reduce maintenance costs and energy purchase cost (as energy-efficient products can be operated with lesser amounts of energy).
Energy-efficient product procurement helps increases the cost-effectiveness of other energy efficiency activities, such as facility upgrades. Thus, such energy-efficient products are in huge demand in the industrial as well as domestic sectors. This demand is expected to create lucrative opportunities for smart glass players in this market in the coming years.
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Why the lack of awareness about long-term benefits of smart glass remains a major challenge in this market?
There is limited awareness in the market of the characteristic benefits of smart glass products largely as the technology has only been commercialized for few applications across different verticals. The current stage of commercialization and the adoption of these products in application areas such as automotive and architecture indicates that the booming of the market, with industry participants and architects experiencing the benefits offered by the smart glass technology; as a result, this technology has gained a lot of traction in the past 2 years. However, there is a further need to groom the end users about its application as an energy-efficient, eco-friendly and potential technology of the future.
Declining prices of electrochromic materials
At present, electrochromic materials are offered as both smart electrochromic glasses and electrochromic films. Various reasons make electrochromic materials an ideal material for smart windows. Being an active technology, electrochromic windows can be directly controlled manually or by building automation systems for optimum comfort and energy control. The performance and capabilities of electrochromic materials are well understood because of their widespread adoption in auto mirrors.
Electrochromic glasses exhibit long product life as electrochromic materials are not easily deteriorated by light. Electrochromic windows are a highly functional technology that is at, or near, full commercialization. With these characteristics, the popularity of electrochromic glasses has increased. Moreover, the prices of electrochromic glasses are also declining with increasing economies of scale. Sage Electrochromics managed to reduce the cost of smart glass by 50% over the past 4 years by scaling up the new manufacturing capabilities with economies of scale.
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