Glazing Technologies

What is electrochromic glass and how does it work?

Electrochromic glass to front facade by IQ Glass

Electrochromic glass, often referred to as smart glass or switchable glass, is a type of glass that can change its tint or transparency in response to an applied voltage. This transformation is achieved through the manipulation of electrochromic materials embedded within the glass structure. 

Electrochromic smart glass installed to showroom roof

How Does Electrochromic Glass Work? 

The functionality of electrochromic smart glass relies on electrochromic materials, typically transition metal oxides like tungsten oxide or nickel oxide. These materials exhibit reversible colour changes when subjected to an electrical charge. 

In its default state, electrochromic glass is transparent, allowing maximum light transmission. 

Activation: When an electric voltage is applied across the glass, ions from a conductive coating move through the electrochromic layer, causing a chemical reaction. 

Colouration: This reaction alters the oxidation state of the electrochromic material, resulting in a change in its optical properties. The glass transitions from transparent to tinted or opaque, depending on the desired level of shading. 

Once the voltage is removed, the electrochromic material returns to its original state, and the glass reverts to transparency. 

Electrochromic smart Glass windows and doors

Electrochromic glass windows and doors in buildings offer dynamic control over daylighting, reducing glare and solar heat gain while enhancing occupant comfort and energy efficiency. 

The advantages of Electrochromic smart glass is energy efficiency with less demand for artificial lighting and HVAC systems, privacy and comfort due to the adjustable transparency and reduction of glare and solar gain. 

This smart glass combines attractive aesthetics with sustainable design. 


Are you working on a project with a requirement for smart glass?   

Contact the team today! 01494 722880


Further reading: Lambeth Civic Centre case study – Electrochromic smart glass for solar shading.