The originator of the nanotechnology used in the RavenWindow is a man named Will McCarthy — who is, among other things, an aerospace engineer, and the author of numerous books of science fiction and nonfiction (including Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, and the Infinite Weirdness of Programmable Atoms) as well as RavenBrick’s co-founder, president and Chief Technology Officer.
Back in 2006, McCarthy was looking for funding for a heat-sensing technology he’d developed. Given his background, his first thought was to develop an application for the aerospace industry. He approached RavenBrick’s Chief Executive Officer Alex Burney, then a consultant, to help him secure that funding. It was Burney who pointed out that the aerospace industry’s turnaround time was so long it was likely that this promising technology would “die on the vine” before it came to fruition, and suggested that they would be better served by envisioning an application in the building sector. Within a week, the two had developed their first prototype idea for RavenWindow — basically, according to Ketchum, “by taking the parts out of a calculator.”
In 2007, McCarthy and Burney went on to found RavenBrick. By 2011, their technology had made its way into the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Research Support Facility in Denver, where RavenBrick is based. The company is entirely angel-funded, largely through green funds in the Aspen-Boulder area of Colorado.
While the company remains primarily focused on making good use of its intellectual property, RavenBrick expects to have its first manufacturing plant open by May of 2013. At that time, its proprietary RavenWindow filter will become commercially available to manufacturers of IGUs.
The RavenWindow filter (which enables windows to take on a tinted state when heated) represents the company’s most broad-based application of its tech, as it is a product with applications in both the commercial and residential market. But RavenBrick has also registered patents for a number of other applications, including a version of its filter capable of bringing windows into a mirrored state (for commercial buildings) and a version capable of bringing them into a white opaque state (for manufacturing facilities and warehouses).
“The dynamic window market [according to a recent poll] has been put at roughly a billion dollars in the next few years in North America,” Ketchum told us. “When we look at those numbers, we believe that they’re certainly doable. With the amount of glass and the amount of retrofitting and new construction that’s going on, there’s an enormous amount of opportunity for this kind of technology to get out there.” He goes on to point out that a commercial building retrofit using this technology can easily result in savings of upward of $150,000 a year, while increasing occupant comfort. “We believe it’s something building owners are going to want to take a look at.”
More on RavenBrick’s technology and its various applications are available online.
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