The windows of your home are key to the appearance, comfort and overall enjoyment of all of its rooms. From an appearance perspective, they can either make or break the way a room looks, which in one way or another informs everything else about that particular space. However, comfort is a much more important factor, especially when tied to temperature – which brings us to the most pragmatic, bottom-line reason for caring about your windows: energy efficiency.

Energy efficient replacement windows are among the best possible updates you can make to your home. For many, the financial imperative is key, particularly in the winter, when you know you have to run the heat at some point to make rooms in the house comfortable to live, work and sleep in. If your windows are made of sub-par glass or have suffered damage for any reasons, they'll probably let cold air in, which means you have to use more power (electricity, natural gas or oil) to keep everything warm and that means spending more money each month. During the hotter months, the temperature differences are reversed but the issue is the same.

This eternal struggle has prompted window manufacturers to work diligently on creating a design that will preclude the majority of these energy loss issues. According to Agence France Press, scientists in China have devised with a concept that could function as a true "smart window" – but it is only in the prototype stages.

The news source reported that researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that a compound called vanadium oxide can absorb infrared radiation. When used as a coating on the surface of window glass, it can either insulate or reflect this light and properly regulate the temperature of a room. 

Yangfeng Gao, who co-authored the research as a study for the journal Nature Scientific Reports, explained that the "smart window" had the simultaneous capability to generate and save energy. However, the study did not make it clear when such designs would be available on any commercial level.

In the meantime, it behooves homeowners to pursue options such as Marvin replacement windows. As an example, the Low E II Glass used in these windows' design reflects heat back to its source and can repel up to 84 percent of ultraviolet rays. These will make for highly efficient replacements to existing windows with less reflective glass.