SPD-SmartGlass: A Sustainable Design Solution For Protecting Light-Sensitive Works Of Art In Museums

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Research Frontiers’ (Nasdaq: REFR) SPD-SmartGlass(TM) is the only dynamic dimmable glazing technology that offers instant and infinitely tunable control over light passing through windows and other glass or plastic products. With a range of visible light transmission ranging from deeply tinted to very clear or any level in between, SPD-Smart(TM) products give users the ability to harvest or reject light as desired.
Using SPD-SmartGlass supplied by Research Frontiers licensee SmartGlass International, Domoticware S.L.U. now offers SPD-Smart museum display cases that reduce photo-chemical deterioration of light-sensitive works of art by limiting exposure to periods when people are viewing the artwork. This is done seamlessly and automatically using sensors which drive the SPD-SmartGlass.
Domoticware has announced its first contract to install its SPD-Smart museum display case in the Museum of the Spanish Guitar in Almeria, Spain, which is due to open in the fall of 2011.
High levels of natural light are an increasingly important goal of sustainable architectural design. The presence of natural light in building interiors has been shown to increase sales in retail environments, improve worker productivity, and raise learning rates in schools. There are significant economic benefits as well. According to the New Buildings Institute, daylight harvesting strategies offer the potential for annual savings of 35%-60% on artificial lighting energy. This equates to an estimated savings of $20-$35 billion per year on artificial lighting energy in United States buildings alone.
For all its benefits, the introduction of natural light into museum interiors poses challenges, particularly when natural light can result in photo-chemical damage to extremely light-sensitive objects. In a recent article entitled “Improving the Management of Light in Museums,” author Manoj Phatak of Domoticware discusses these challenges and the disadvantages of conventional approaches to reduce light damage in the museum sector.
In his article, Manoj Phatak describes the benefits of Domoticware’s SPD-Smart museum display case which can “protect extremely light-sensitive materials such as silk, manuscripts, ancient books and photographs by combining it with proximity sensors located around the display case.” The SPD-Smart display case becomes transparent only when someone is present to view the work of art and automatically becomes light-blocking when no one is present, thus protecting the object from the harmful effects of ultra-violet, infra-red and visible light. This reduces the frequency of artwork restorations and permits placement of extremely light-sensitive objects next to non-sensitive objects, allowing the museum to portray a coherent historical story.
By using SPD-SmartGlass to protect works of art from damaging light, museum operators also can pursue sustainable daylight harvesting strategies that reduce the need for artificial lighting, lower energy costs, improve the well-being of museum staff and visitors, and support the environment.
More information about the light-control challenges facing museums, and the SPD-Smart solution to address them, is available in the article and video from Domoticware, and from Research Frontiers licensee SmartGlass International’s website.
Made with patented light-control SPD film developed by Research Frontiers, SPD-SmartGlass is the world’s fastest-switching variably tintable dynamic glazing technology. It is the only dimmable window technology that gives users the ability to instantly and precisely control the level of shading to any point between very dark and clear. This provides exceptional control over solar energy while also adding to user comfort and protecting interiors. Available in both glass and lightweight polycarbonate substrates, SPD-Smart products – windows, sunroofs, skylights, doors, partitions and more – are laminated glazings that offer a distinctive combination of energy efficiency and security, can be controlled manually or automatically, and are available in custom sizes and fabrications for original equipment, new construction, replacement and retrofit projects.
To learn more, please visit www.SmartGlass.com or follow us on our Twitter and Facebook sites.
For inquiries, to arrange a presentation, or to visit the Research Frontiers Design Center, please contact:
Gregory M. Sottile, Ph.D.
Research Frontiers Inc.

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