Table of ContentsIntroductionOpportunities for Materials and Specialty Chemical FirmsOpportunities for Architectural Windows FirmsOpportunities in Automotive and Other MarketsAbout Nanomarkets
According to NanoMarkets, the market for smart windows will grow considerably over the next eight years, becoming a billion-dollar market by 2015 and then almost double by 2018. There are several driving factors for this growth that are discussed in the main body of this report and outlined here:
Added value: The smart window product types discussed here add significant value to conventional windows in specific market niches.
Green building: One of the major driving factors for the growth of smart windows is the green-building movement. Smart windows, the electrochromic and thermochromic varieties, provide shading of solar light and heat to minimise building cooling loads in warm periods, yet allow higher amounts of light and heat during warm periods, minimizing heating and lighting loads as well. These improvements in energy efficiency are needed to meet green certification requirements, and they are often preferred over mechanical louvers or other, more complex, alternatives. And it is not only certified buildings that will capture these gains.
Convenience: Another driving factor in the growth of smart windows is convenience. Electrochromic smart windows feature controlled visibility, partial dimming, and privacy in interior or exterior windows and offer added value and can be controlled as desired. These convenience advantages cover not only architectural markets but also automotive, other transportation, and other types of markets as well. Self-cleaning window markets will grow because of the value these windows provide through minimized manual cleaning and better clarity.
Opportunities for Materials and Specialty Chemical Firms
The growth of smart windows markets over the next eight years means that firms that manufacture smart coatings and their components have a number of opportunities to supply those materials to smart windows manufacturers. This opportunity is greater in volume terms for self-cleaning coatings and electrochromic coatings than it is for thermochromic coatings.
In dollar terms, the biggest opportunities for smart coating firms are in supplying electrochromic coating materials to the smart window manufacturers. Electrochromic windows alone are predicted to grow to well over a billion dollar market by 2018 and a considerable portion of the cost of those windows will be the electrochromic coatings.There are technical opportunities as well, as smart coatings suppliers can expect to sell greater volumes of materials and in some cases, at higher prices especially if they produce better functionality when compared to competitive materials.
These technical opportunities include the following:
- Developing electrochromic coatings that are less expensive and that provide a wider dimmable range.
- Electrochromic windows are also highly expensive among smart windows and lowering the cost of the coatings will also boost growth rates.
- For self-cleaning smart coatings, technical opportunities to increase sales through offering products with better functionality.
- Some self-cleaning windows have catalytic action that disintegrates organic dirt into sunlight. The opportunity is to produce coatings that break down dirt and probably non-organic kinds of dirt, more effectively especially if it can be done without direct sunlight.
Opportunities for Architectural Windows Firms
The opportunities for architectural windows firms are clear and listed below:
- Architectural smart windows will grow to over a billion-dollar market by 2018, with most of those revenues coming from exterior windows. Window suppliers will make considerable amount of money by partnering with smart coatings suppliers and offering products including these smart functionalities.
- Electrochromic smart windows are the largest revenue segment for architectural windows and will produce over $900 million by 2018. Since electrochromic windows have considerable applications in both exterior and interior windows, there are a number of opportunities for innovative product designs, providing superior aesthetics or function—and superior pricing.
- Such electrochromic windows, interior or exterior will eliminate the requirement for blinds and other additional window treatments. In many of these settings, window treatments present a significant need for ongoing cleaning and maintenance, one that can be avoided by using electrochromic windows instead.
- Architectural applications are also the largest market for thermochromic windows, where the passively activated tinting essentially limits them to energy-saving uses
- The monetary value of these opportunities for window suppliers is not as great as for the other smart window types, but they are still significant. The opportunity for window suppliers is to offer thermochromic products to customers who are concerned mainly with energy savings, and for whom the significant additional cost of electrochromic windows is very high.
- Self-cleaning window offerings represent another large opportunity for windows suppliers, offering money savings not from energy efficiency but from a reduced need for window cleaning labor.
Opportunities in Automotive and Other Markets
The automotive market provides the next largest source of smart window opportunities for glass suppliers, after the architectural markets:
- One application for glass suppliers is for electrochromic glass, which is already established in self-dimming automotive mirrors. The automotive market can be expected to begin using electrochromic glass in other places such as like side windows and sunroofs before too long.
- There will also be some similar opportunity for thermochromic glass in sunroofs, but at a smaller dollar amount. While thermochromic sunroofs have appeal for limiting the heat that enters an automobile, the on-demand control of an electrochromic version offers higher value and will generate more money, especially since either option will make up only a small portion of automobile costs.
- NanoMarkets believes that self-cleaning glass, though it will not evolve for a few years, will offer even greater opportunities than electrochromic glass in the automotive market by the end of the eight-year period covered by this report. Manual cleaning of automotive windows is universal and frequent, and the value added from self-cleaning glass is great in terms of both safety and appearance.
- Other transportation markets are smaller, and will offer similar but smaller money-making opportunities. The other smart window types will also produce some opportunities, on a similar schedule as in automotive markets.
- Finally, there are also opportunities for glass suppliers to produce smart glass products for other markets. These would include self-cleaning glass for things such as shower doors, dishwashers, clothes washers, and perhaps cooking appliances. NanoMarkets expects modest money to be made in these applications, around $50 million by 2018.
NanoMarkets is a leading provider of market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets. Since the firm’s founding, NanoMarkets has published over one hundred comprehensive research reports on emerging technology markets. Topics covered have included OLED displays, lighting and materials, thin-film electronics, conductive inks, transparent conductors, renewable energy, printed electronics and other promising technologies. Our client roster is a who’s who of companies in specialty chemicals, materials, electronics applications and manufacturing.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by NanoMarkets.
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