The Path to Drawdown: Dynamic Glass
Buildings account for 32% of energy use and 19% of energy-related GHG emissions worldwide. Much of this energy use and emissions come from heating the interiors of buildings in the winter and cooling them in the summer.
One way of making buildings more energy efficient is to install “smart glass” or “dynamic glass.” This is glass that dynamically changes its opacity to reduce or increase the amount of light and heat that’s allowed to pass through. This means reducing the amount of light and heat to keep buildings in the summer, and maximizing them in the winter. This technology replaces static glass that’s prevalent in commercial buildings in industrialized countries.
Dynamic glass can be based on electricity, heat, or light: it changes color and tint in real time in response to the light or heat that it’s exposed to, or when the user flips a switch. It has the potential to save energy for both thermal and lighting systems in buildings and transportation.
Today, high production and installation costs are challenges to wide adoption. But Project Drawdown is hopeful that a rapid scaling is possible and projects its growth between now and 2050:
- <::marker> In 2018, 42 million square meters of dynamic glass were being used in commercial floor area
- <::marker> If 50% of buildings become net-zero emissions by 2050, they would require 341 million square meters of dynamic glass.
If the world can achieve this scenario, dynamic glass would help avoid 0.3 gigatons of GHG emissions compared with high performance static glass.