Transparent Wood Heating and cooling a home is costly, and inefficient building materials often make a house’s carbon footprint even worse. But thanks to a new generation of futuristic building materials, those materials could be poised for a significant upgrade. A team of researchers at the USDA and several research institutions say they’ve developed “transparent wood,” a glass-like material made almost entirely out of trees that they claim is stronger, safer, more cost efficient and more thermally efficient than glass. Kicking Glass It’s a lucrative concept that has drawn the attention of multiple research teams across the globe , all working on similar concepts. The problem with conventional glass is that especially in a single pane configuration, it’s a terrible insulator. Producing it can also come with a heavy carbon footprint, emitting about 25,000 metric tons per year, according to a recent statement by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In their paper published in the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials , the researchers claim their transparent wood result in windows five times more thermally efficient than glass. Creating the novel material is also a far greener process. For one, it’s made from the sustainable, fast-growing balsa tree. The […]

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