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Plant-based building materials may boost energy savings

Photo of dried kenaf, a plant similar to bamboo

Over a three-year period, University of North Texas researchers developed and tested structured insulated panel building materials made from kenaf, a plant in the hibiscus family that is similar to bamboo. Kenaf fibers are an attractive prospect because they offer the same strength to weight ratio as glass fibers.

The kenaf materials, including composite panels, provide up to 20 percent energy savings, reduce energy consumption and reduce overall carbon footprint compared to fiberglass or steel and Styrofoam products, their studies show.

Credit: University of North Texas

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