amboo is going to save the world! You heard it from me folks, Bamboo and it’s counterpart Hemp, will revolutionize the way the future machines and buildings will house our coming generations. That’s right, our hopes and prayers will be tied to “grass”, in one form of the other. Why? Because they are clean, regenerative, CO2 emission fixing plants that produce much more yield per square meter than all other sources for building, clothing, paper, or oil in the world. Here of 7 more reasons you may have not yet heard about why bamboo is going to solve the world’s sustainable buildings demands:
1. This stuff grows fast!
When we say that Bamboo produces more per square meter, we are not talking about fractional improvements here, we are talking about 10x the rate of Teak, 20x the rate of oak, and 65x the rate for Mahogany, yet we can make products similar in every way with bamboo for less money while also fixing carbon emission issues brought on by deforestation for firewood and building materials.
2. Bamboo IS a Hardwood
Some people don’t realize how hard a well treated piece of Asper bamboo can be. Does twice the tensile strength of steel, which is the separation force on a material, sound pretty strong for a grass? How about 2-4 times the compressive strength as compared to all other conventional hardwoods? Recent studies have shown that bamboo wins out in strength, longevity when properly treated, and growth production per square meter in all strength classes. The two top performers are the bamboo species commonly named Gaudua Bamboo and Asper Bamboo. These are sought after for the strength, but also for their quick rengeneration of 3-5 years.
3. You can eat it!
Sure, in Costa Rica, we don’t exactly have pandas running round eating up all of our bamboo products at M.A.E., but we humans do it! If you have yet to try bamboo shoots for yourself, I would describe them as a welcomed version of a heart of palm, yet not too far away from a cucumber. Not too mention, Bamboo shoots are loaded with nutrients and minerals. Stop by the mill for a bag of our pickled shoots and have a taste!
4. It grows where other crops don’t grow
Bamboo grows in almost any type of soil here in the tropics of Costa Rica. Along hillsides, river banks, rocky cliffs or parts of your property where you otherwise would not be putting a garden. Even indigenous fruit trees have a hard time prospering in the areas where Bamboo grows well. We have talked about the benefits for erosion control on hillside properties as well as high flow river banks, but for a bamboo cultivator, this is the dream crop.
We estimate that you could harvest as many as 20 clumps of Asper bamboo per year over a 5 year span of time and use less than 1 acre to do it. .89 acre to be exact. We don’t clump our bamboo together as this would create a monoculture on that area of land. This creates an imbalance inside the microorganisms of the soil and takes years to fix. By spreading our bamboo as a companion plant to other crops it helps create a regenerative soil compost that can last hundreds of years into the future.
5. We can use every single piece of bamboo
We start by searching for best best and most straight pieces to be used for timber framing. We sort them by their width. The top section are turned into furniture, fencing, ornamental designs, roofing, and even a soil enriching mulch if we have anything left. Smaller pieces can be turned into toothpicks, chopsticks, and straws. Lower grade Bamboo can be used as waddle and daub wall panels combine with a stucco to make very nicely finished walls that are reinforced by the bamboo.
With our BambooCrete blocks, we use every extra fiber and flake to add the substrate that creates blocks that weigh half the weight of conventional concrete.
6. No Chemicals!
With the world shift towards organic foods, why not build your home with organics as well? All agricultural products need to shift towards not using fertilizers or pesticides, not just our food. By supporting Bamboo building, you are not only helping with CO2 remission, but you are reducing our dependence of fossil fuel based fertilizers that harm the nature eco-system of the soil. We Oil Palms becoming a growing problem in Costa Rica, we need soil fixing solutions that don’t contribute to the overuse of pesticides in those fields. If you eat organic, live organic: build your home with Bamboo!
7. Bamboo could reverse the effect of greenhouse gases in 5 years
Due to its rapid growth rate, flexible soil requirements, and lightweight nature, conventional wood simply cannot compete. Bamboo uses as little as 1/50th of the time and resources needed to grow, process, and transport some higher end hardwoods. Every type of wood cannot match the carbon fixing and growth speed of bamboo. It is easily explained like this: In the same space it takes to grow one Teak tree for 40 years, you could produce as much as 200 poles of usable timber Bamboo.
With a growing list of amazing ways that bamboo can help the environment while providing a more eco-sustainable building material, the question isn’t if you are going to build with Bamboo, the question is when. Call the experts at Materiales Ambientales Ecologicos in Costa Rica at +506 8427 0728 or visit our online store.