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Published on Nov 16, 2010
Winners of the CO-LABS Governor's Award for High-Impact Research in Energy Efficiency, Dr. Satyen Deb at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) discovered that a small electrical charge can change the opacity of tungsten oxide from clear to tinted. He, Dr. Dane Gillaspie, and their fellow scientists at NREL then applied this knowledge to develop and transfer the technologies required to construct an electrochromic window, which can switch between clear and heavily tinted states. Electrochromic windows allow natural light in while adding tint to reduce summer heat and glare, and going clear to allow sunlight through in the winter. Broad adaptation of these windows could reduce US total energy use by four percent and reduce building cooling loads by 20%, much of this during expensive peak hours. Windows based on these discoveries are now being installed worldwide.