Available since the early 1990s, electrochromic glass allows the incoming light and, with it, the Ug value to be precisely controlled without the need for obtrusive mechanical sun protection such as slats or blinds. Electrochromic coatings, composed as a rule from metal oxides, are applied between two thin panes of float glass along with layers that act as ion conductor, anode and cathode. When a small electrical current is applied, an ion exchange between the layers is activated, which changes the colour and level of transparency of the electrochromic layer. When the voltage is removed, the glass reverts to the clear state.
Although solutions have become very sophisticated, there’s still a considerable amount that needs doing when it comes to the tint colour, transition time and intelligent peripherals – explains Robert Jagger, Country Sales Manager DACH at Halio International S.A. – This space is filled by the added value the Halio glass system offers. We set out to provide more naturalness, more individuality, more intelligence, more ease of use, more aesthetic and more flexibility in connecting it with home automation systems and building control systems.
Lighting management: more than just solar protection
Many studies have shown that people feel most comfortable in natural daylight where there’s a dynamic change between light and shade, because then their internal clock and biorhythms remain in sync. The biological effects of daylight can’t be replaced by artificial light.
In summer, however, the sun is excluded from buildings with expansive glass facades to minimise glare, heat input, and to keep the costs of ventilation and air conditioning down. Halio was developed to overcome these discrepancies in modern glass architecture. The smart-tinting glass is the link between inside and out, between energy savings and losses, between light and shade and, last but not least, between room temperature and room comfort.
With a colour rendering index of 97%, Halio glass is completely colour neutral and, as it gets darker, develops neither an unnatural blue cast nor patterns or erratic gradients. Tinting is completely uniform in subtle shades of grey giving an undisturbed, glare-free view out and ensures the optimum amount of daylight in the room at all times. Untinted, Halio insulating glass units have a light transmittance level of 65%. The light transmission value can be reduced to as low as 2% and up to a maximum of 95% of thermal energy blocked. The electrochromic coatings’ transition times are just as impressive, with Halio glass reaching its darkest tint in less than 3 minutes.
No other glass achieves such a uniform, natural tint in such a short period of time – explains Robert Jagger.
Triple Halio for perfect comfort
To give architects and planners even greater creative freedom, two additional products complete the Halio range. Halio Match is a coated, static glass suitable, for example, for use on north-facing facades or lower storeys. And because it has exactly the same appearance as Halio glass in its untinted state, both types of glass can be used together on facades for a uniform appearance that doesn’t compromise the aesthetics.
Halio Black was developed specially for indoor partitions but can also be used on facades. Untinted, it has a light transmittance level of 51%. When completely tinted, Halio Black blocks up to 99.9% of light and up to 96% of the energy input.
Halio Black is ideal for creating privacy in particular rooms such as meeting rooms, bathrooms or bedrooms – says Marketing & Communication Director Katia Hansen.
A very diverse range of buildings benefit from this product mix.
Museums, for example, often have the problem of allowing enough natural light into the exhibition rooms while keeping harmful UV light out – explains Hansen. – Halio optimises the amount of natural light while protecting valuable exhibits.
In addition to office buildings, other buildings predestined for the use of dynamic Halio glass include, for example, shopping centres, educational and healthcare facilities and high-class residential properties.
The intelligent core of the system is Halio Cloud, which connects the control and regulating components with the glass units. It also fulfils the requirements of residents and facility management with regard to comfort, dimming levels and energy efficiency.
The Halio Cloud platform provides a high level of automation. It can communicate with voice-actuated control systems in the same way as it can with common building and home automation systems. Users have, nevertheless, the option to change tint levels themselves at any time. This can be done using apps, local control panels or voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home.
Depending on the glass construction, Halio glass panes can reach Ug values of up to 0.6 W/(m²K).
The Halio control system automatically optimises both the amount of daylight passing through and the level of thermal comfort, thereby enabling savings of up to 22% on HVAC costs – explains Jagger.
Halio is therefore suitable for all sustainable construction projects, regardless of whether they are built according to the Passive House, Minergie, BREEAM or LEED standards. The Halio Cloud brings together all the parameters such as the users’ preferences, building use, location, the alignment of the facades and the weather conditions. Based on this information, special algorithms calculate the automatic optimisation of the system.