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Is your smart glass design concept competition-worthy?

Launching on 28 February 2022, the Switch2save Architectural Design Competition is giving students and young professionals a chance to showcase lightweight switchable smart glass solutions for energy-efficient glass buildings.

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Take a look at today’s office buildings, airport terminals, train stations and shopping centres – the dominant elements in many of their designs are usually glass façades and glass roofs. Glass is attractive, versatile and provides a visual connection with the outside world, which is why large-area glazing is an ongoing trend. On the downside, large glass façades and roofs can result in much higher energy demands for cooling and air conditioning in the summer. In fact, modern buildings with large-area glazing consume up to 100 % more energy each year than buildings with small windows. Aiming to help reduce energy demands in buildings featuring glass façades, roofs or large window-to-wall areas, the EU-funded Switch2save project is now holding an Architectural Design Competition to collect energy saving design concepts for such buildings. The announcement has been posted on the Switch2save project website. The competition concerns non-residential buildings – either new or renovation projects – and sets no design restrictions relating to site size, location or climate. The technologies proposed for drastically reducing the buildings’ energy demands are electrochromic (EC) and thermochromic (TC) smart glass technologies. These are transparent energy-smart materials with switchable total energy transmission values to control the transfer of solar radiation into the building. EC and TC technologies also have the added advantage of providing greater indoor lighting comfort than conventional mechanical window blinds. “We invite students and young professionals to present a design concept in which there is an optimum exploitation of the Switch2Save EC/TC smart functionalities, supported by a clear energy saving concept towards meeting the EU energy saving targets for buildings, while considering occupants’ comfort and wellbeing,” the Switch2save team states on its website. The jury will also evaluate the successful aesthetic integration of insulated glass units, in addition to the replication potential of the design approach.

Who can enter?

The competition is open to young architects, students, and/or multidisciplinary teams that include building physicists or engineers and are led by young architects or students enrolled in an academic programme from an accredited educational institution. Teams can have up to three members of any nationality.

Important dates

The competition begins on 28 February. Participants must register by 31 May and submit their designs by 31 July. The winners will be announced on 21 September. The Switch2save (Lightweight switchable smart solutions for energy saving large windows and glass façades) project aims to help make EC and TC smart glass technologies more easily available and affordable so as to contribute to the EU’s goal to become climate-neutral by 2050. The project is demonstrating the potential of its two representative buildings – Greece’s second largest hospital in Athens and an operational office building in Uppsala, Sweden. A total of 50 windows and 200 m2 of glass façades will be replaced with a switchable smart glass solution, following which a “before–after” comparison will be conducted of the energy consumption in both buildings for one year. For more information, please see: Switch2save project website


Switch2save, glass, energy, building, design, competition, smart glass, electrochromic, thermochromic

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