Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

SPD Smart Glass Building Control System(ST10609)

SPD Control Systems Corporation


A Suspended Particle Device, or SPD, is a type of ‘light valve’. When integrated into a window, it is capable of electronically controlling its opaqueness. Under precise control, such windows can change from clear to dark, or any desired level in between in a matter of a few seconds. This change in turn controls Solar Heat Gain and, with intelligent controls, can have a dramatic effect on the energy consumption in buildings, automobiles, airplanes, boats, trains, and other places where it is used, by blocking or using solar energy. SPD technology has been developed by Research Frontiers of Woodbury, New York and is protected through over 450 patents issued on a worldwide basis. The company is a pure research firm and, in turn, licenses other firms around the world to manufacture the components that make up SPD materials and their integration into windows for all types of marketplaces. SPD Control Systems, of Stony Brook, New York business objectives are to supply the electronic controls to operate this material.

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Project Description

The Contractor (SPD Controls) is to develop, demonstrate, and report on a building control system for dynamically controlling the electronically variable tinting of Suspended Particle Device (SPD) Smart Glass windows. The system consists of SPD Window Controllers with light and motion sensors, an SPD Master Building Control System, wireless handheld units to manually override dynamic operations, and a wireless network to interconnect all components. This intelligent control system is used to dynamically manage Solar Heat Gain through windows in buildings throughout the day, 365 days a year, and, dependent upon geographic location, to reduce the energy requirements of HVAC and Lighting systems in the building.


The SPD Building Control System to be developed with the SPD Smart Glass has the potential to save 20% or more of the HVAC and lighting cost in commercial buildings by minimizing the energy use of a building due to Solar Heat Gain and enabling the use of daylighting. If successful, new jobs with the Contractor and the New York-based subcontractors are expected to be created.

Project Results

SPD completed development of a wireless building control system (WBCS) for smart windows using the ZigBee protocol for a meshed network. The system consists of SPD Window Controllers with switches, light & motion sensors, a SPD master building control system (MBCS), and wireless handheld units to manually override dynamic operations. The WBCS can be scaled for use in homes, offices, small buildings and skyscrapers. The control system can interface to commercially available building control systems to achieve seamless operation of all of the systems in a building. The MBCS is designed to allow remote accessing via an internet connection.


SPD Control Systems Corporation
1500 Stony Brook Road, CEWIT 6042 Stony Brook University Research & Development Park
Stony Brook, NY 11794

Principle Investigator

John Petraglia

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Building Systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Robert Carver


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 12/8/2008
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10609

Last Updated: 4/17/2012