Because of its recognized “sustainable” characteristics, bamboo has become very popular in recent years as the material of choice for the eco-product and high end furniture and flooring industries. The fact is that in the west, we are just beginning to uncover the world of possibilities that this almost miraculous plant has to offer. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource and when combined with innovative technologies and processes, it’s one of the most useful, versatile and probably the most sustainable building material available today. To top it all out, it’s beautifully!
In certain applications, bamboo provides structural characteristics that outperform even the most technologically advanced industrial building materials, it has greater compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength-to-weight ratio of steel in tension.
It takes an acre of trees to build the average American home but because of its dense and rapid growth, only the square footage of that same house to build it out of bamboo. It can be harvested every year after only 5-7 years of growth compared to 20-50 years for other woods. Bamboo’s rapid regeneration allows it to be cut without killing the plant.
It is extremely resilient and more impervious to termite attacks than other woods. Bamboo survived the Hiroshima atomic blast closer to ground zero than any other living thing and provided the first re-greening in Hiroshima after the blast in 1945. Again in Limon, Costa Rica, only bamboo houses from the National Bamboo Project stood after a violent earthquake destroyed all other constructions in 1992.
It is the fastest growing plant on earth growing up to three feet per day and produces 30% more oxygen than other hardwood forests sequestering up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare. Bamboo is also very beneficial to the soil in which it grows by keeping a larger amount of water in the watershed and its high nitrogen consumption can also help purify the toxic runoff from other industries.
There are more than1500 species and over 5000 documented uses for Bamboo ranging from housingclothing to food and medicine and it can be highly accessible because it can grow even in nutrient depleted soil and is native to every continent except Europe and the Arctic regions. and
Bamboo is considered a mystical plant throughout Asia, a symbol of strength, flexibility, tenacity, and endurance. This greatly misunderstood and underutilized plant has a very promising future as a sustainable alternative in several industries and it probably wont be too long before we see the widespread use of Bamboo in west.