How Switchable Smartglass can Improve Daylighting Design

Date: 1 February 2016

It’s no secret sunlight is scarce during the winter months. Many of us leave for work in the dark, and return home when it’s even darker.

If we get a chance to step outside midday, odds are good the sky is gray and rain clouds imminent. 

Since this gloomy weather forces many of us indoors for extended time periods, we particularly appreciate good day lighting design in the winter.


Buildings with balanced natural light distribution can help support workplace productivity, offset spikes in electrical lighting loads and combat sun-dependent mood disorders (the latter of which is extremely valuable in our vitamin D deficient city). Studies also continue to show access to natural light can create environments in which students learn better.

Given these benefits, building teams are more frequently incorporating strategies for maximizing daylight capture within their building plans. Increasingly, we’re seeing these strategies include switchable smartglass.

Why switchable glazing?

While switchable glass is best known for its ability to offer privacy at the flick of a switch, its see-through form can perform double duty and allow light to reach deep into interior spaces whilst keeping out noisy streets, rain or in most cases, the cold. In fact, since switchable glass products are now available day lighting potential has never been greater. Building teams can select from a range of glazing systems that exceed 25 percent of the total wall area, including glass curtain walls and large, switchable smartglass wall panels.

Daylighting dividends

Using extensive switchable smartglass in areas of any building makes it possible to maximize light penetration in ways that were not previously possible. For example, building teams can place switchable glazing systems directly in line with

non-switchable glass. This can extend the line of sight and bring greater amounts of natural light into lobbies, meeting rooms and classrooms, which can be controlled to switch from privacy to clear when required.


Another popular method for boosting daylight levels is to stretch switchable smartglass across multiple stories or around atriums. This design strategy helps create open, light-filled spaces, as was the case with Microsoft HQ, Lisbon.

As you consider your next building project, we sun-starved people implore you to let the sun shine into your buildings. We thank you, and your building users will thank you for the inviting interiors created with natural light.

What’s your experience with Switchable Smartglass glazing in day lighting designs? Any projects where it was a key factor?

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