Bamboo Construction: Durable, Economical and Sustainable Material

Bamboo construction is gaining popularity around the world for both its strength and sustainability, which is great news for the environment. Bamboo as a construction material is cheaper than steel poles and its harvesting uses very few natural resources and also leaves a tiny carbon footprint. In Bali, Indonesia bamboo construction material has been recognised for its versatility by being made the emblem of sustainable construction in the region. However, although bamboo construction has enjoyed much advancement and success, it still requires further development in order to reach its full potential.

The Bamboo Triangle

Bali has recently erected a string of bamboo construction buildings, such as homes, offices, a school, luxury villas and a chocolate factory. Much of the bamboo material used in the construction was sourced from the world’s largest commercial bamboo factory in Ubud. The facility claims a massive 2,550 square metres; however unlike timber it does not damage the land where it is harvested. The bamboo construction material factory rests on a point of the so-called ‘bamboo triangle’, with the other two points occupied by the school and the luxury villas. Over 247 acres of rice paddies occupy the centre of the triangle and are largely unaffected by the bamboo construction activities. In China, bamboo is used for scaffolding in the construction of massive steel and glass skyscrapers.

Towards Sustainable Construction

Reports have shown that construction is one of the world’s most unsustainable industries in the world and consumes around half of the world’s renewable resources. Considering that buildings are the physical elements where nature meets mankind, efforts towards sustainable bamboo construction need to be made. Amongst other sustainable means, bamboo construction methods are slowly spreading around the world. In order to accelerate this gradual growth in sustainable construction, it is one of the key discussion topics at the United Nations Conference on sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro this month.

Bamboo Construction Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the primary bamboo construction benefits is that the material grows incredibly fast. Eucalyptus trees in China grow between three and four metres per year, whereas bamboo grows at six to ten metres in the same period of time. To add, bamboo will continue to grow after it’s been felled. The disadvantages of bamboo construction are that it tends to rot easily unless it undergoes intensive treatment. Bamboo construction projects are also seen as a fire hazard. Although bamboo construction architecture is not infallible, improvements in sustainable technology can reduce its limitations.

Penny Munroe is an avid writer in construction news and current events. Articles include reviews on the global construction industry to selecting the best Dickies workwear.

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