A three-year research program at the University of North Texas (UNT) has seen a collaboration of biologists and engineers develop and test a structured insulated panel made from a plant similar to bamboo that could help create greener buildings.

The researchers turned to kenaf, a plant in the hibiscus family, as an attractive prospect because their fibres offer the same strength to weight ratio as glass fibres. They found that the materials using kenaf could provide up to 20 per cent energy savings, reduce energy consumption and reduce overall…