California: Heliotrope Technologies Wins R&D 100 Award for Universal Smart Window Coating that Saves Energy and Increases Comfort

Project Overview
Positive Impact: First-of-its-kind technology enables dynamic control over how much of the sun’s heat and light enters a building. Receives 2013 R&D 100 Award.
Locations: California
Partners: Heliotrope Technologies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
EERE Investment: $150,000
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

EERE-funded Heliotrope Technologies, with support from EERE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), received a 2013 R&D 100 Award for their Universal Smart Window (USW) Coating. This first-of-its-kind technology enables dynamic control over how much of the sun’s heat and light enters a building through its windows, thereby lowering energy consumption and improving occupant comfort. Unlike competing smart window technologies, the USW Coating can block heat-producing, near-infrared solar radiation without blocking visible light. This independent control is unique in the smart window market and means occupants can have natural lighting indoors without unwanted thermal gain—reducing the need for both air-conditioning and artificial lighting. The same window can also be switched to a dark mode, blocking both light and heat, or to a bright, fully transparent mode. Roughly 30% of the energy consumed in the United States each year goes toward lighting and space cooling in buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. The nanocomposite electrochromic coating is fabricated using an efficient, low-cost solution process, rather than the industry-standard sputtering, resulting in an estimated incremental cost of $10-$15 per square foot. The low cost, minimal power requirements, and responsive user experience of this technology are expected to drive broad deployment and make a significant impact on global energy consumption.

The Building Technologies Office leads a vast network of research and industry partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy saving solutions—better products, better new homes, better ways to improve older homes, and better buildings in which we work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.

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