Jenni Quach | Blog 5bamboo

In the article Uses for Bamboo in Sustainable Building, bamboo is described as a versatile, renewable material. Kati, the author, expresses that bamboo should become a universal building material. On the other hand, I feel that bamboo would flourish as a building material only in tropical areas

If non-tropical areas were to use bamboo, then it would result in a higher cost due to shipping; bamboo only grows in tropical climates (Kati). If bamboo was shipped worldwide, there is a chance of the material diminishing during its travel. There is also the question of the material’s sturdiness in a non-tropical climate. Will it sustain snowy weather?

Kati suggests creating bamboo plantations to fix the cost, but it does not solve the issue of the bamboo’s sturdiness in harsh weather. Even if bamboo plantations were established, they could potentially do more harm depending on how it is built or maintained. Since bamboo grows quickly,  it could diminish the soil nutrients, especially because we would harvest it every 3 to 6 years (Kati).

Those who live in tropical climates have the advantage of optimizing the sustainability of bamboo. Seeing that the material is grown locally, there would not be much of a shipping fee. It would be ideal to avoid using bamboo in nontropical areas because of the need to constantly treat the material to prevent rot, insects, fungi, and fire; it would need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years (Kati). It is not readily available for international users. However, it is available for individuals in tropical climates.

Tropical areas that use the local material create benefits for the local community such as forming jobs. If the locals were to use other materials from international sources, then there would be less benefits for the locals. It is the same concept for other areas as well; using local materials is the better option because they benefit the local community


Kati. “Uses for Bamboo in Sustainable Building.” Green Build. N.p., 12 June 2012. Web. 4 Oct. 2016. <;.

Photo credit:

Robison, Jonna. Bamboo School in Bali. Digital image. N.p., 29 May 2011. Web. 4 Oct. 2016. <;.



  1. ktowberman

    Kyle Towberman response week 5

    Bamboo is probably the best choice for sustainable material for building I can think of. I would have to disagree with your statement about bamboo only being useful in tropical areas. If we limit the uses to the way your picture uses bamboo, I can see why you would think that bamboo would not be feasible in an environment like ours where it snows. However, if you can go beyond traditional ways of thinking, bamboo could be the answer.

    First, one must be made aware that certain types of bamboo are some of the fasted growing plants in the world, growing 1 in every 40 minutes, that is almost fast enough that you can see it grow. Second, a study found that bamboo has the tensile strength of light steel, and can withstand more compression than concrete. Now granted, the bamboo in these two facts are not the same, but the bamboo that is in the middle of both spectrums, bamboo that is both fast growing and strong, can still be cultivated in a years time and is still stronger than most hardwoods. Another bonus? it can be grown in much denser sections than hardwoods can, and is still stronger. Not bad for a piece of grass, huh?

    as far as a solution to the many issues you pointed out in your blog including rot, and strength, there already exists a solution: laminated bamboo, which has three times the structural capacity of regular lumber. As far as wall claddings go, bamboo can easily be made into fiberboard and chip board in the same way that normal wood can.

    To sum this up, bamboo is faster growing than wood, it has more tensile strength than steel, it has more compression strength than concrete, it can be grown in a fraction of the time as normal wood, and when it is turned into engineered lumber, it is 3 times stronger than standard lumber. I would definitely feel safe to say that bamboo is going to be the wood of the future and that it is probably our best option for a sustainable material for building that we could ever hope to find.

  2. kurtismachtemes

    Week 6 Response 2
    From this writing it is pretty clear that it would be impractical to use bamboo for structure and facade in environments where it is not native. It is important to find ways to adapt this material to these missing areas because it would be interesting and allow new possibilities for innovation where it was not possible before. This could be done by integrating bamboo into other materials that would support its material weaknesses.
    Combining this material with another could be accomplished with a coating that provides great protection or by layering and joining it with other materials. As far as coating the material a plastic material that prevents weathering and deterioration as well as improve fire resistance would work best. To preserve the wooden quality bamboo could be layered with other wooden products such as CLT. These other materials would compensate for the fragility of the bamboo so that it could support more weight and become a more viable method of construction.
    These types of wooden structures are somewhat more eco-friendly than conventional methods which is critical for supporting the increasing load of the human population efficiently. More and more we need to start relying on and improving our use of renewable resources if humans wish to sustain our ever growing population, and bamboo architecture could possibly be a step in the right direction

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