Thursday, October 23, 2008


from DeBoer's site:

Renewable - The Phyllostachys varieties, most suitable for growing and building in the U.S. where we must deal with frost, will grow 12-18 inches a day once a grove is established. Culms (the living poles) emerge as large as they will ever be in that first six-week spurt, then spend the next three years replacing sugars and water with silica and cellulose. Structurally, they are only useful after that third year, which is about when the culm is not needed by the plant.

Plentiful - Our current meager U.S. supply of timber-quality bamboo can increase manifold within a decade with species selection appropriate to the microclimate, water, and nutrient availability. For now, temperate varieties such as Moso are being imported from Asia. These are well suited to being grown here.

Local - Bamboo concentrates a large amount of fiber in a small land area, creating that rare situation in which a single person can be both producer and consumer of a building material. A bamboo builder is not dependent upon the whims of the marketplace and can create a long-term source of material. Few other materials, besides earth, can make such claims.

Waste-reducing - As is nature's general practice, nothing goes to waste. The leaves are high in nitrogen, making good feed for livestock. Any fallen leaf compost goes to fertilize the next generation. But, even more enticing are the statistics for pulling carbon out of the air, potentially reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that contributes to the greenhouse effect. According to the people at the Zero Emissions Research Institute (ZERI) who built the bamboo pavilion at the top of this page, a bamboo forest can sequester 17 times as much carbon as a typical tree forest. In a country where a third of the greenhouse gases are attributed to buildings, imagine a building material that, when used locally, not only doesn't contribute to global warming, it solves some small portion of the problem.

1 comment:

David Gould said...

It would be so good to use bamboo in screens and maybe some of the super-structure. Anti-termite etc preservation is all important. Is anyone doing research into this in TH? I heard of a workshop to the E of BKK where they use a lot of bamboo to make furniture, screens etc- it would be interesting to know more about their source of bamboo, and what sizes are available. Growing your own on site is an attractive idea.