A group of researchers rethinks the stained glass window for an energy-conscious future.

There’s been a lot of talk about how much light enters buildings: depending on the time of the day or year, it can make a huge difference in their energy efficiency. For most people, this has simply led to a lot of tedious curtain-opening and closing and stuffing rugs and towels under doors to keep climate-controlled air from flowing in or out. What if that sunshine could be harnessed by ordinary household items like windows? Such a novel solution was recently discovered by researchers at the University of Michigan, who have found an alternative to the big, shiny, black solar panels that live on rooftops and give architecture critics headaches.

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