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The Ultimate in Energy Efficiency: Super Insulating Silver-Dipped Clothing

The Ultimate in Energy Efficiency: Super Insulating Silver-Dipped Clothing

Turn down the thermostat, boost your energy efficiency and stay warm during the coldest months with this crazy new sci-fi clothing technology. Scientists have discovered that clothing dipped in a silver nanowire solution (that’s super high-tech insulating stuff) creates a radiation insulation that will keep the wearer so warm, the need for indoor heating may be significantly reduced.

Researchers at Stanford University made the discovery; their findings were recently published in the journal Nano Letters.

Indoor heating uses nearly 50 percent of global energy with 42 percent of that on homes. Inefficient building insulation essentially wastes energy (we’re talking leaky windows and doors, thin walls, etc). Most energy in the U.S. still comes from fossil fuels: mainly gas and coal. With the impact these extractive practices are having on the environment, we can’t really afford to have heat seeping out our windows for much longer.

Enter the energy efficiency boosting clothing category and why “personal thermal management” is a really exciting solution. That’s the term the researchers have given to the nanowire treated clothing. “The main advantage of the AgNW-coated clothing is that it reflects over 90% of an individual’s body heat (i.e., infrared radiation) back to the individual,” reports “This reflectance is much higher than even the warmest wool sweater, as the average clothing material reflects back only about 20% of body heat.”

So, if your sweater currently only warms you at a rate of 20 percent, imagine what a 90 percent heat reflectance would feel like. Coziest. Sweater. Ever.

The nanowire technology makes the fabric breathable, as opposed to wearing a silver suit of armor. The researchers say the treated clothing would feel just like regular clothing and the cost wouldn’t be prohibitive as nanowire uses a very small amount of silver and less expensive metals could also be used to achieve the same goal.

Users would even be able to amp up the heat by plugging the garments into a power source such as a battery. Like your own personal mobile electric blanket.

Would you wear super insulated nanowire clothing to boost your energy efficiency?

Woman in sweater image via Shutterstock

Written by Jill Ettinger

is co-director of Eat Drink Better. She is the senior editor at and A focus on food, herbs, wellness and world cultural expressions, Jill explores what our shifting food, healing systems and creative landscapes will look, sound and taste like in the future. Stay in touch on Twitter @jillettinger and .

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