Bamboo: Green Building Material of the Future
Forget about tiki torches, there's a lot more use in bamboo than most of us would suspect. This humble grass has received three ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards as a construction material.
The University of Hunan, China, has developed a new type of environmentally friendly residential building, a house whose sub-structure is made entirely from bamboo! “GluBam®” the Hunan University, Institute of Modern Bamboo and Wood Composite Structure Team worked in conjunction with the Changsha Bamboo Kaisen co-operation to build a wonderfully eco-friendly home made entirely from sustainable bamboo.
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Where else is bamboo made into buildings? In the United States and France, it is possible to get houses made entirely of bamboo, which are earthquake and cyclone-resistant and internationally certified. In Bali, Indonesia there is an International primary school, named the Green School, which is constructed entirely of bamboo, due to its beauty, and advantages as a sustainable resource.
So why is bamboo an environmentally friendly substance to use instead of wood? Unlike trees that yield timber, bamboo is not a tree at all, it's a kind of grass. This means that it grows a lot faster than trees that may take decades to become a renewable or profitable source of building material. Bamboo can grow 60 cm (24 in.) or more per day due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. It has even been measured to grow 100 cm (39 inches) in 24 hours. Why the disparity? The growth rate is dependent on local soil and climatic conditions. There are also many varieties of bamboo, numbering over 70 genera that's divided into approximately 1,450 species. Each specie has its own growth rate, climate and soil requirements.
The point is, the high variety of bamboo makes it a viable crop for different countries with different climates. This versatile plant can be found in cold mountains as well as hot tropical regions. In terms of latitudinal range, they thrive across East Asia through to Northern Australia, and west to India and the Himalayas. They also grow in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Americas from the Mid-Atlantic United States south to Argentina and Chile. North and south pole, and Continental Europe are just about the few places not to have any native species of bamboo.Continued on the next page