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WinSmart - Smart, lightweight, cost-effective and energy efficient windows based on novel material combinations

The main goal of the project is to develop a smart window system that will contribute to meeting the energy efficiency targets of the building industry by 2020. This goal will be achieved through a new vacuum insulation glazing (VIG) solution combined with newly developed and robust switchable glazing systems mounted in durable and energy efficient sash and frame. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD 2010/31/EU) requires EU Member countries to have intermediate targets in place for improving the energy performance of new buildings by 2015 and to ensure that by the end of 2020, all new buildings are nearly zero energy buildings. The directive also requires that buildings undergoing major renovation, meet minimum energy performance requirements. The directive implies that building regulations will become even stricter making it necessary to adapt products, components and processes for low energy buildings to the new requirements. Windows are clearly a weak link in the modern building envelope with typically higher U-values than façade elements which often contain insulation layers of 20 cm or more. There is therefore an urgent need to improve this situation and develop a window unit with U-Value closer to or matching that of the facade elements. For maximum impact and overall effectiveness, the new model window will be scalable for use in a range of building scenarios (including renovation /retro-fitting of existing structures), be inexpensive and easy to install, be lightweight, durable and of reduced carbon footprint compared to current available solutions. VIG offers the potential of 2-5 times higher insulation performance with a doubly glazed pane, at the same time providing an extremely slim and lightweight solution. In addition to high thermal performance, the smart windows will have improved control functions including switchable optical properties and exterior surface protection (anti-fogging, easy to clean, scratch resistant etc.).