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Smart Windows Are Coming to San Francisco’s Airport

August 23, 2017, 4:14 PM UTC

It’s the 21st century and we live in a world of glass. Our smartphone displays are made of it, our cars carry increasing amounts of the stuff, and our corporate offices—well, if you work or live in a building built since the Second World War, it’s highly likely that you’re surrounded by it.

For a long time, that modern look gave way to practical problems. Glass encourages the greenhouse effect that in turn requires serious, inefficient, and expensive HVAC systems. It also requires shades, curtains, screens, and other sun-blocking implements. And it gets dirty awfully quickly, at least in the grubby metropolis of Manhattan.

The cleaning aspect is yet to be resolved (sorry window washers), but Internet-connected technology has arrived to address the other two issues. So-called electrochromic glass, made by companies like View Inc., uses an electric signal to adjust its tint. Paired with sensors and software, the glass can do so automatically, following either the sun’s path or a manager’s preferred working schedule. It’s a good reason why electrochromic glass is coming to San Francisco International Airport, which plans to install more than 66,000 sq. ft. of it, made by View, in its redeveloped Terminal 1.

Electrochromic glass: A compelling case for the rapidly growing Internet of Things and a very cool—pun intended—way to keep the modern aesthetic modern.