Building With Bamboo - A Sustainable SolutionsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #sustainability2 years ago (edited)

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth and is used as a building material where it is found in abundance in Southeast Asia and South America. Its light weight and high tensile strength make it an ideal building material to use with concrete, and in the construction of frames, walls, floors, and roofs.

Advantages of Bamboo as a Building Material

The various advantages of bamboo are as mentioned below:

  • Tensile strength: Bamboo has higher tensile strength than steel because its fibers run axially.
  • Fire Resistance: Capability of bamboo to resist fire is very high and it can withstand temperature up to 4000 C. This is due to the presence of high value of silicate acid and water.
  • Elasticity: Bamboo is widely preferred in earthquake prone regions due to its elastic features.
  • Weight of bamboo: Bamboos due to their low weight are easily displaced or installed making it very easier for transportation and construction.
  • Unlike other building materials like cement and asbestos, bamboo poses no danger to health.
  • They are cost effective and easy to use.
  • They are especially in great demand in earthquake prone areas.

Disadvantages of Bamboo

Bamboos come with their own set of drawbacks such as:

  • They require preservation
  • Shrinkage: Bamboo shrinks much greater than any other type of timber especially when it loses water.
  • Durability: Bamboo should be sufficiently treated against insect or fungus attack before being utilized for building purposes.
  • Jointing: Despite prevalence of various techniques of jointing, structural reliability of bamboo is questionable. source


Bamboo can be treated with Borax or Boric acid, a natural salt, to preserve it and protect it against insects and rot. Using this technique it will last a lifetime.

Bamboo is 2-3 times stronger than steel and can regrow up to 3 or feet a day without being replanted. As the plant grows it releases up to 35% more oxygen and absorbs up to 35% more carbon dioxide than most trees.

For many parts of the world it is the perfect renewable building resource and building material and its versatility is limited only by ones imagination.

A picture of some giant bamboo I took in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The stunning bamboo homes built by Elora Hardy and her team in Bali twist, curve, and surprise at every turn. They defy convention because the bamboo itself is so enigmatic. No two poles of bamboo are alike, so every home, bridge and bathroom is exquisitely unique.

In this TED talk, she shares the potential of bamboo, as both a sustainable resource and a spark for the imagination. "We have had to invent our own rules," she says.

Magical houses, made of bamboo | Elora Hardy


Bamboo is also naturally bacteria resistant, making it great for cutting boards, clothing and many daily use items. I love the clothing as it is both warmer as well as cooler than most natural or made made fibers. Thanks for the building aspects, it is amazing that we search more for synthetic than natural, but I guess that’s just a human trait.

Bamboo is an incredible plant and has so many uses. We really should be using it more.

I love bamboo but borax is a serious poison. There is nothing environmentally friendly about having to didpose of gerzillions of liters of borax solution down drains or into waterways.

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Borax is not toxic but for some reason, many websites incorrectly say it is. I suppose in high doses everything is toxic. I think the confusion comes with boric acid which is toxic even at small doses.

In sum, borax is wholly natural and has no inherently toxic ingredients. It doesn't cause cancer, accumulate in the body or in nature, or absorb through the skin. Because the dose makes the poison, borax is not harmful to the body or the environment with normal, external usage any more than salt or baking soda is.

I love the look of bamboo and the wide variety of uses it has. Although I am not an expert with bamboo, I have used it in many projects and it worked out very well. Thanks for sharing more information on bamboo, I agree we should try to use it more often. I would be interested in more eco-friendly uses and preservation.

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Bamboo is such an amazing plant , I agree we all should be using it more. I chose bamboo for our flooring in the truck I live in with my 3 girls, it is perfect for an active family. x