Best for occupant well-being

Smart windows powered by liquid crystal technology score best for occupant well-being, according to new research. By Eyrise.

Dynamic windows that use advanced liquid crystal glass technology to achieve solar shading offer the most positive impact on occupants’ well-being, new research reveals.

The study, by deep green engineering practice Elementa Consulting, compared two smart window technologies on the market which alter the optical and thermal properties of external glazing to control solar glare and heat. Research focused on the impact of smart facade design on human experience.

Using best practice lighting simulation tools to undertake a series of visualisations and analysis, Elementa investigated how two types of established electrochromic glass compared with the recently developed Eyrise glazing, which uses its proprietary Licrivision liquid crystal technology. Elementa looked at performance in three areas: colour, speed and circadian well-being.

When tested for colour rendering, Eyrise windows maintained a neutral grey tone across the entire tint spectrum, while electrochromic glass displayed a blue colouration, which can impact perceived colour and brightness of illuminated objects in the indoor environment.

The transition time of controlling glare was examined to ascertain if a comfortable working environment, supporting productivity, was maintained. Research showed that users were able to modify shading states of liquid crystal windows instantaneously. Electrochromic products needed at least 15 minutes to restore visual comfort levels, meaning occupants are at risk of high levels of glare and may seek alternative ways, such as blinds or curtains, to protect themselves from sunlight.

“According to the latest National Human Activity Pattern Survey, people are spending 87% of their time indoors, so welfare should take priority when embarking on smart facade building design,” Alkyoni Papasifaki, environmental design engineer at Elementa Consulting, said. “Our investigation shows that Eyrise dynamic liquid crystal windows outperform other smart glazing in supporting health and well-being. The technology enables windows to maintain a neutral colour across the tinting range and instantaneously deliver high levels of visual comfort on demand.”

Elementa’s study also examined the impact of dynamic window technologies on occupants’ health, focusing on the alignment with their natural body clock which is triggered by dedicated receptors on the retina and responsible for the sleep-wake rhythm.

All three glazing products tested met minimum requirements of light exposure and intensity during their bright and dark states. However, glazing that uses electrochromic technology, producing a blue colouration to the glass when tinted, induces an environment that disrupts occupants’ body clocks in the afternoon by suppressing melatonin levels and raising alertness. In contrast, by maintaining a neutral environment across the tint spectrum, Eyrise windows support occupants’ natural circadian rhythms throughout the day.

Eyrise funded this independent research by Elementa Consulting. It’s the first in-depth study on the well-being impact of smart facade technology.

Read the full report here: