LBNL Report Number
The future holds many challenges for the fenestration industry. Just as new types of coated glass are becoming common place today even more advanced wonders await in the future. This industry has the opportunity to redefine the function of the window and to advance its technology into the electronic age. The key to the future appears to be the use of intelligent control systems in home and businesses. This will increase along with advances in a very wide range of appliances and office products. Now the big question remains is the fenestration industry ready to plan for these products? Some changes are certainly being made, but probably too slowly. The future will definitely see further integration of glazings into the building skin and the building skin becoming a dynamic element. The future building skin will be dynamic, incorporating sensors to determine a variety of information. It is not unreasonable to expect the building to sense human presence and a variety of climatic factors. One of the key growth areas over the next 10-20 years will be in sensor technology. Many types of distributed neural net sensors will be developed along with multipurpose intelligent discrete sensors. Sensors will use microprocessors locally coupled to the sensing region.
Steady movement will be made to integrate microelectronics and photonics with the macro glazing or building skin. If we look back, building technology and electronics have had very little in common. In the future, the glazing and the building skin will become one large electroprocessor or photoprocessor. Another important issue is the increased attention to safety and more stringent fire codes concerning fire resistance. Increased litigation cost and insurance rates make issues of safety even more important in the future.