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  • Britney Heerten

Architectural Innovation in Wood Products

Where is architectural innovation coming from today?


It seems to me that most innovations in architecture today are fueled by the pandemic and global warming. Global warming is a pressing issue that the architecture and construction industry has a huge part to play in creating buildings that utilize green building materials and conserve energy use. The products chosen for a project can make a difference in sustainability. Many scientists are working on incredible projects that could change the way we currently think about building.


Clear Wood

Imagine what you could do with wood that was weather-resistant, fire-resistant, transparent, biodegradable, and shatterproof. That would open up a lot of uses for wood that have never been possible. Scientists have been working on this since 1992 and have come a long way with the engineering of the wood for this purpose.


Wood is made up of, tiny fibers called cellulose and lignin, which bonds and strengthens the fibers. Molecules, called chromophores, in the lignin are what give the wood its brown color. When hydro-peroxide is applied to the wood and exposed to UV light, the chromophores turn white. When infused with transparent epoxy, the wood turns clear.


Sources:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/scientists-develop-transparent-wood-that-is-stronger-and-lighter-than-glass-1.5902739


https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2020/10/01/transparent-wood-could-be-window-future

(Photo USDA Forest Service)


Hempwood

Creating alternate types of wood is also helpful when it comes to concerns such as deforestation. Other natural, sustainable options are the best replacement for wood. Hemp is a rapidly renewable source and absorbs more carbon than trees. This wood is perfect for non-structural interior woodwork such as flooring, trim work, and furnishings.


"HempWood® is the first pressed hemp building material available for purchase in the United States, ever. In 2014, with new legislation being passed, long awaited patents and efforts were finally ready to hit production floors. In specific, the HempWood® factory floor in Murray, Kentucky. This site became the launching point to see just what could happen when patented engineering and raw hemp material came together." - https://hempwood.com/lumber/


https://www.buildwithrise.com/stories/hempwood-the-sustainable-new-building-material


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