At the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the windows themselves generate electricity. But guests are unaware it’s happening.
“The beauty of our technology is that it doesn’t look any different than a regular window,” says Hunter McDaniel, founder and CEO of UbiQD, the company that developed the windows.
They’re made with what are called quantum dots, tiny particles that absorb sunlight and convert it into a glow outside the visible spectrum of light. That glow is then routed to solar cells at the edge of the window.
The hotel windows are part of a pilot project, and the technology is not yet commercially available, but McDaniel expects to start selling the windows this year.
He says they’re an ideal solution for urban areas.
“If you go to a city and you look around, there’s nowhere to put solar panels,” he says. “On the rooftops, there’s HVAC systems, leisure spaces.”
And the roofs are small compared to the height of the buildings.
But the sides of tall buildings are usually glass, so solar windows could fit in seamlessly.
And McDaniel says the windows can produce up to 40% of a building’s typical energy needs, so they’re a promising way to help reduce the climate impact of city buildings.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media