Boom in bamboo buildings has green benefits
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GIRARDOT, Colombia — Forget steel and concrete. The building material of choice for the 21st century might just be bamboo.
This hollow-stemmed grass isn't just for flimsy tropical huts any more it's getting outsized attention in the world of serious architecture. From Hawaii to Vietnam, it's used to build everything from luxury homes and holiday resorts to churches and bridges.
Boosters call it "vegetal steel," with clear environmental appeal. Lighter than steel but five times stronger than concrete, bamboo is native to every continent except Europe and Antarctica.
And unlike slow-to-harvest timber, bamboo's woody stalks can shoot up several feet a day, absorbing four times as much world-warming carbon dioxide. "The relationship to weight and resistance is the best in the world. Anything built with steel, I can do in bamboo faster and just as cheaply," said Colombian architect Simon Velez.
As the first manufacturer of certified structural grade bamboo, Lamboo is preparing for the shift in sourcing of construction materials from traditional sources such as timber to more rapidly renewable sources to meet the growing demand the future undoubtedly will bring. Although bamboo grows remarkably fast and requires much less effort to replenish it is still a natural resource that we must protect and use wisely if it is to be implemented as a sustainable alternative to timber. Lamboo is working internationally to cultivate land management programs across the globe to ensure that bamboo as a resource will one day reach its full potential and avoid misuse that can damage the ecosystems where this remarkable plant grows.