Cooling, or air conditioning , is more complicated than heating. According to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit more than half a billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Also, most of our buildings are made of concrete, whose production is a major source of carbon emissions. And once it’s done, heating and cooling buildings become a major energy sink.
Passive radiative cooling materials are engineered to do this extremely well.
Now, a new type of wood that radiates heat into space could offer some relief. The materials, used on a building's exterior, could drop a building's temperature as much as 1
Liangbing Hu, a materials scientist at the University of Maryland and his colleagues created this material by removing the 'lignin' from natural wood using hydrogen peroxide.
Well, the houses made of high-tech wood could help us stay cool and also reduce carbon emissions by cutting energy used on air conditioning.
High -tech cooling wood
Lignin is a component of the cell walls in trees, which acts as a glue holding the straw strands together. Lignin is a strong emitter or IR light. The fragments diffuse out of solution and can be washed away. The team then used a hot press, an industrial display for making wood composites, to compress the remaining cellulose and hemicellulose components together. The result was an engineered wood with eight times the strength of the natural wood. It simply means the cooling wood reflects most of the components of sunlight right back to the environment.
As a result, this building would transmit barely any heat indoors. The team also found that the material can absorb heat produced indoors, which is emitted at a different wavelength range to sunlight. During cooler nights, the wood helps release the heat outside, making it useful day and night.
It could reduce air conditioning costs:
If this material was applied to the outsides of buildings in the warm climates, the passive cooling more than 35% air conditioning costs, the researchers reported in the journal
Hu says the cooling wood is very dense and has a tensile strength of around 404 megapascals, making it 8.7 times stronger than natural wood and comparable to metal structure materials including steel.
But, as the cooling wood restrict the heat from the sun from getting indoors, so it could add additional heating costs during winter. Hence, Hu says the material is best suited for warm areas with long summers and short winters.
This multifunctional, scalable cooling-wood material holds promise for future energy efficient and sustainable building applications, enabling a substantial reduction in carbon emissions and energy consumption.