27 Apr Partner Up, As We Open Up The Market For Dynamic Living
Dynamic glass technologies are already here, explains Jason McCabe, commercial and site director of Clayton Glass. He goes on to suggest that forward thinking companies should partner up and get actively involved in the market development, as adaptive living becomes a commercial reality.
Technology embraces our everyday lives and it wasn’t all that long ago that mobile phones were just that, portable phones, before they have now become portable technology devices that seemingly run our lives. In recent years, we have also seen the introduction of solar power to the masses, which could add £25.5 billion in value to the UK economy by 2020, according to a major report published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
That fact is new technologies can be adopted quickly and the market for specialist conservatory glass exploded when a few leading players, including our SMARTGLASS® brand, launched specialist products around 2005 that would help keep conservatories cool in summer and warm in winter. Since then U-values have come down from 1.7 to 1.0 W/m2k, realistically the technical limit and similarly G-values have plummeted down to 0.14, with our class leading Ultra 86 product taking centre stage. With these traditional ‘static’ glasses nearing their technical limits, the next obvious step is dynamic glass that can be adaptive to our daily living requirements.
The launch of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic is part of our long-term view for new glass technologies, that can easily be adopted by our trade partners and embraced by tech-savvy consumers. This product is wireless, available on a 10-14 day leadtime, is available in any shape and can be handled in the same way as any other glass unit. It also boasts a true self clean coating and warm edge technology, as part of the overall product proposition.
Several hundred requested interactive sample kits have already been sent out, encouraging users to physically see SMARTGLASS® Dynamic sample in action, witnessing the changing state before their own eyes. As well as selling to keen, innovating consumers, we are also looking towards development partners to help bring this technology to the mass market, offering us valuable feedback from development sites in a variety of real life installation types.
So how does it work? The clever technology of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic resides on the outer leaf of the glass unit which responds to heat, or for the purposes of a conservatory, direct sunlight. In its standard clear state this glass technology offers a light transmission of 60%, close to that of a standard glass unit, yet with a very impressive G-value of 34%.
As the surface temperature of the glass begins to increase, the glass unit will start to darken gradually, until reaching a fully tinted state, whilst changing performance characteristics. This state offers an impressive G-value of 10% and a light transmission of 6%, better performance credentials than any other conservatory roof glass, along with the added benefit of the fact that it also blocks out 99% of harmful UV rays, regardless of state.
If we look back at some of the very earliest specialist conservatory roof glass products and brands, then lead time was 4-6 weeks with a cost of over £150m2, which in today’s money is similar to the full price of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic. The market for non-static glass, will without doubt, reach the masses in the years to come, but our task at Clayton Glass is how best we can realise this with forward think partners and through price incentives.
The introduction of development partners will allow us to tweak the formulation further and gain important research data on product performance with consumer installations and also through show sites. Much like the specialist conservatory roof glass market, over time we see prices coming down and product performance levels will improving.
Dynamic living, in terms of glass technologies that adapt their characteristics, is without question the future for the conservatory and domestic glazing markets and the launch of SMARTGLASS® Dynamic represents our commitment to this by being first to market. This is the start of a defining journey and one in which we’d like to bring a number of forward thinking development partners with us, in order to help refine the market offering, provide feedback and bring the product to the masses. In time dynamic living will become the norm…