95%

of heat

blocked by Research Frontiers’ SmartGlass

45%

Companies

around the world license Research Frontiers’ technology

235

Patents

issued worldwide

View Our Analysis

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.

What We Want to See Improve

Track Emissions

We are encouraged by Research Frontiers’ energy- and emissions-saving SmartGlass technology, we need to know the company’s direct and indirect emissions. As of now, they provide no such data. Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions should be tracked and reported in an annual sustainability report.

Set Emissions Reduction Targets

On top of this, we would like to see Research Frontiers setting targets for reducing their own emissions toward net zero. This should be conveyed as clear, quantitative targets by a specific timeframe.

Expand Faster

Research Frontiers is a small company with six full-time employees (p. 3). This small size makes the company vulnerable to key employees’ departure from the company. We are eager to see Research Frontiers expand their licenses faster so that they can grow in the near future.

Related Dynamic Glass Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

0.09%

View, Inc. (VIEW)

View, Inc. makes smart glass that reacts to sunlight, weather, and other factors. Dynamic glass helps cut building energy use and emissions

0.02%

Crown ElectroKinetics Corp. (CRKN)

Crown Electrokinetics makes pigment-based film that can be embedded between sheets of glass to control its opacity. Dynamic glass can cut energy use

0.02%

Research Frontiers (REFR)

Research Frontiers makes smart glass with nanotechnology that can be dimmed depending on sunlight, reducing building energy use and emissions.

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