This article looks into bamboo construction and climate change. It was inspired by this article that I came across last week in Indian newspaper The Tribune.
In Asia bamboo has been used as a versatile construction material for centuries. But its benefits for climate change mitigation and adaptation have only come to the forefront more recently.
The use of bamboo as a construction material is advantageous for two reasons.
Firstly, the majority of materials used in construction delivery such as steel, concrete, aluminium and glass are all carbon intensive and non-renewable. Therefore, any move away from these and towards low carbon renewable resources would be extremely beneficial.
Secondly, bamboo is a plant species that produces above average amounts of oxygen during its growth phase and stores above average amounts of carbon dioxide in its stems. It also grows quickly and can be harvested annually, rather than felled as it is a grass and not a tree. This has seen it rise in prominence as a sustainable construction material. Some structures made entirely of bamboo can be declared carbon negative, because the amount of carbon stored in the materials exceeds that used to create the building.
There is also the question of desirability. Bamboo structures and internal finishes are extremely eye catching. This is a key benefit, which should help this sustainable material grow in popularity as more people come to identity bamboo with sustainability and quality, leading to a virtuous cycle of growth.
Bamboo is a versatile material, that can be used to create everything from bus stops, to structures, to internal finishes to bicycles. This incredible material, could see buildings become a carbon sink, rather than a source of carbon emissions.
What you need to know
This article looked into bamboo construction and climate change.
We looked into bamboo’s 2 key advantages. Namely that it displaces high carbon materials and is itself a fast-growing low carbon material.
It should be seen as an added bonus, that it can be used to create desirable, eye catching finished structures.
Bamboo is already widely used in construction across Asia, but has only scratched the surface in Europe and North America. With more advocates and more people demanding sustainable places to live and to work, this trend could change.
Low carbon buildings are good, but carbon negative buildings are better. Bamboo is the intelligent material of choice for sustainable buildings.
Thank you for reading,
By Barnaby Nash
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to make more people aware of the carbon benefits of bamboo buildings.