The concept of window blinds that react to changing sunlight isn’t new. But Sunbreak is one of the first smart shading technologies designed for an entire skyscraper, where individual panels adjusts to the sun window by window.

The prototype comes from US design firm NBBJ who envision a shading system that “not only lowers energy costs, but gives users greater control of temperature and light in their offices.”

So, when the sun is out, the blinds come down. When it’s cloudy, the shades bend so their built-in solar panels can reflect more sunlight into the interior. Individual panels can even be controlled independently, as Gizmodo explains:

…so if a conference room needs to be darkened for a presentation, or an office is too cold and could use some solar gain, someone inside can simply use an app on their iPhone to raise or lower the screen. It can also sense when no one is in the space—like on the weekends—and put the entire building in energy-conservation mode.

The Sunbreak prototype is not unlike the retractable shades that New York-based REX designed for a pair of towers in the Middle East. Where Sunbreak seems to have the technological edge, however, is the blinds’ ability to move independent of the larger system.

We look forward to the day when the prototype is pushed through to production.

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