Glass windows may soon be a thing of the past

Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the best — and cheapest — construction materials known: wood.

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a transparent wood material that could change the way we construct buildings and solar panels. To create the transparent wood, researchers chemically removed lignin from samples of commercial balsa wood and added acrylic..

The new material is suitable for mass production, the researchers say, and is a low-cost renewable resource.

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Glass windows may soon be a thing of the past

 

 

If used in the construction of homes and buildings, a transparent wood material has potential to improve indoor lighting, allowing natural light in through the walls.  This could save on the costs of artificial lighting, and may even have use in solar cell windows.  While this is not the first example of optically transparent wood, previous developments have focused on the study of wood anatomy on a microscopic level.  Researchers say this new material has large scale applications.  Panels of transparent wood could be used for windows or semi-transparent facades, to let light in while still maintaining privacy.  And, its ‘haziness’ also gives it promise for solar cells, as it traps light, thus boosting efficiency of the cells.

 

Not sure if this is a good thing.  More trees will need to be used.  Yes, they are renewable but is it sustainable?

 

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Learn what causes condensation on your windows and what you can do to avoid it

Condensation can form on interior glass surfaces when there is too much moisture in the air. If the interior of a structure exceeds certain limits of moisture in the air, the moisture will condense and show up on comparatively cooler surfaces, such as glass.

Windows are typically the coolest areas of interior walls; even if they have storm panels, are glazed with welded insulating glass, have Low-E4® insulating glass, or use triple pane glass. When the warm, room temperature air comes in contact with the glass surface, the air is cooled and if there is enough moisture in the air, the dew point will be reached and the water in the air will condense. A good analogy is when you have an iced drink on a warm summer day, and the glass has moisture on the outside of it. The warmer air meeting the cooler surface of the glass causes condensation to form. Recommended humidity levels in winter months should not exceed 30-35%. If these humidity levels are exceeded, you may want to take measures to reduce the interior humidity level such as:

  • Checking your ventilation
  • Using a dehumidifier
  • Turning the humidifier on your furnace down (or off)
  • Making sure blinds or curtains are open during the day
  • Leaving ceiling fans on to promote air movement
  • Use an exhaust fan in bathroom areas when showering

Additional information can be found in the Guide to Understanding Condensation.

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