Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bamboo – the overlooked sustainable building material?

In this country our main use for bamboo wood is in the garden for hard landscaping, but in most of Asia bamboo is used for serious building. Anyone remember seeing the amazing the bamboo scaffolding in ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’? My husband has seen incredible bamboo scaffolding used to build skyscrapers when living in India.

Bamboo grows fast – just see the clump of black bamboo in my back garden! It uses very few resources in growing, traps carbon and enriches the soil.

You can even invest in Bamboo Bonds from EcoPlanet Bamboo, a British company supporting bamboo plantations in Central America.  For more information, particularly on their ethical polices see:
Nicaragua has changed from viewing Bamboo as a weed to be cleared to regarding it as an economical an ecologically beneficial crop.
Bamboo is versatile, once used for building it can be reused and/or sold. It can also be used as a textile fibre. How many greens already have bamboo socks or tee-shirts?

The Ecologist has expressed concerns over the bamboo boom.

However, they seem mainly linked to the possibility of land grabbing as happened with the new biofuel crops. Currently EcoPlanet Bamboo is committed to growing bamboo on low-yielding degraded grassland and areas where deforestation has had significant negative environmental implications. Fine so far, but if the trend continues will we be looking at a new form of deforestation? Watch this space.

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