According to some experts, energy demands will outpace supply in the coming years. One way to avoid the inevitable high prices associated with energy shortages is to do what you can to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Installing smart windows that help reduce heat gain and loss so your HVAC system doesn't have to work as hard. Here's information about different types of smart windows, so you can decide which ones are right for your home.

Photocromatic Glass Technology

Possibly the simplest type of smart window you can put on your home is one crafted using photocromatic glass. This glass is typically made by embedding microcrystalline silver halides into the window. The chemical reacts to UV light, causing the window to automatically darken when hit by direct sunlight.

The obvious benefit to this type of window is you don't have to worry about making adjustments to counteract what's happening outside, since that's done automatically. At the same time, though, you have no control over when the technology kicks in, so you may end up with dark windows on a cold winter's day when you actually want the sun's rays to warm up your home. This can make it difficult to fully capitalize on the energy savings.

Electrochromic Glass Technology

This technology uses low-voltage electricity to trigger the glass into changing hue. There are a couple of ways this technology is integrated with the window. The cheapest option is to apply an opaque film to the glass. An alternative design is to build the color changing technology right into the glass. Both of these options are typically controlled by a remote (or smartphone app) and can be integrated into a home automation system.

Electrochromic glass technology gives you more control over when the glass darkens and the degree of darkness, which can help you take advantage of the sun's rays when you want to and keep them out when you don't. These devices typically also have settings for privacy, which will darken the glass enough so people outside can't see inside, saving you money on curtains.

The biggest drawback to this type of window is it can take several minutes for the glass to change color, so it's not something you can flip on and off like a light. Another issue is, there's some concern about the window's durability. This type of window tends to degrade after 10 to 20 years of use, requiring you to replace them sooner than you would have to with regular windows.

Still, smart windows can be an incredible asset in beating high energy costs. For more information about these products, contact a window replacement company.