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Can Wood Be an Energy-Efficient Alternative to Glass?

Researchers have been looking at different types of natural materials that could work as a replacement for high-energy materials like glass and one of the best possible alternatives could be wood.

While all buildings rely on glass for letting in light and even solar heat, this is one area that is always where the majority of heat escapes. Even with triple glazing, it’s just not a good enough insulator.

But researchers have been looking at many different types of natural materials that could work as a replacement for high-energy materials like glass.

Surprisingly, one of the best possible alternatives could be coming in the form of wood.

A report in The Conservation has detailed how this could become possible.

“The new study, by researchers at the University of Maryland, demonstrates how to make wood transparent using a simple chemical – hydrogen peroxide – commonly used to bleach hair. This chemical modifies the chromophores, changing their structure so they no longer act to absorb light and colour the wood.”

The concept almost seems too simple to be realistic, but some initial tests have shown that this could become the latest building material to make buildings a lot more energy-efficient.

It’s not likely to be an immediate option for the next couple of years. But as with all breakthroughs like this, it’s the first hurdle that is often the most difficult, with faster progress coming within just a few years. 



Chris is one of GreenCitizen’s writers who has been a long-time advocate of individual responsibility when it comes to the environment. He shares GreenCitizen's passion for making the world a better place every day of the year.

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