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Energy-saving smart windows could help combat climate change

Smart windows could help combat climate change
Smart window technology marks new tool to combat climate change 02:30

San Jose, California — Inside a factory near Memphis, Tennessee, workers are making an unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change: a smart window.

"Well, like everything in life, right, we look back after you've experienced the modern thing, and you go, 'well that was pretty dumb,'" said Rao Mulpuri, the CEO of California-based View.

Mulpuri describes View's windows as transition glass for buildings. They track the sun throughout the day, automatically tinting to regulate light and heat. That allows buildings to use less electricity for heating and cooling.

"Buildings consume about 40% of all energy," Mulpuri said. "They consume about 70% of all electricity. And if you wanna solve for carbon and climate change, you have to solve for buildings."

Operating buildings account for about 27% of annual planet-warming carbon emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Smart glass can help reduce a building's energy needs by about 20%, according to numbers from the Department of Energy. The Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year includes tax credits to boost that smart technology, which currently costs about 50% more than regular windows.

Smart windows have a microscopic coating connected to computer chips and can be controlled by an app. They are now installed in hotels, hospitals, office buildings, apartments, and a dozen U.S. airports, including a new San Francisco International Airport terminal.

"You don't feel the heat beating on you, especially when you want to provide an environment that has a lot of natural light," SFO airport director Ivar Satero said.

At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, tests have found View's smart window's kept nearby seats 20 degrees cooler than conventional glass, according to tests conducted by the company. 

"Every window should be smart," Mulpuri said. "Once you experience it, you can't think of life another way."

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