Smart window startup View raises another $60M led by Corning

Following the start of commercial production (and a name change) late last year, smart window maker View announced on Tuesday that it’s raised another round of $60 million led by glass giant Corning, and including Khosla Ventures and GE. The company, formerly called Soladigm, has now raised around $185 million over its lifetime.

View makes windows that can tint on demand using an iPhone app or control panel. The technology used for View’s windows is called “electrochromic,” which means a low-voltage electrical current is applied to the window to change its color to reflect or absorb light. The tinting effect can cool or warm a room, and save energy by cutting down on air conditioning or heating.

View smart windowsView says its windows can save 20 percent off the costs of heating and cooling, 20 percent on lighting, and can reduce peak load (electricity at peak times of use) by 25 percent. On the other hand, the windows are a premium product and cost more than basic windows, and considerably more than other shading methods like window blinds.

All that funding is going towards View commercially producing its windows in its factory in Mississippi. View started commercial production last year and did its first pilot installation at the W Hotel in San Francisco. But the company needed more money to scale up production. Other investors in View include DBL Investors, Navitas Capital, Sigma Partners and The Westly Group.

View smart windowsThere’s a few other companies working on electrochromic windows, including Sage Electrochromics, which was bought by Saint-Gobain last spring. The smart window technology has been under development for decades, but the trick is to create manufacturing processes to make the windows economically.

View, which was Soladigm for five years until its name change in late 2012, makes its windows by sputtering an atomic layer, 1 micrometer thick, of the electrochromic material onto a pane of glass. The layer is then sandwiched by another pane of glass. The layer is made of tungsten oxide for its initial product, and View licensed the technology from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.