Thanks to a new generation of futuristic building materials, heating and cool of a building is poised for a significant upgrade. A team of researchers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several research institutions say they’ve developed “transparent wood.”
It is 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. They claim their transparent wood result in windows five times more thermally efficient than glass.
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 USDA.
Creating the novel material is also a far greener process. For one, it’s made from the sustainable, fast-growing balsa tree. The wood is oxidized in a special bleach bath and then penetrated with a synthetic polymer.
The resulting material is not only virtually transparent, it acts more like plastic — it can withstand impacts much better than glass and tends to bend and splinter like wood instead of shattering into pieces.
Reference- USDA PR, The Guardian, Futurism