In terms of sustainability, bamboo is an amazing plant…
It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world!
Hardwood trees commonly take decades to mature, while bamboo can be harvested in one to five years.
Some species of bamboo grow up to 90cm (35 inches) in 1 day! Actually, according to David Farrelly’s “The Book of Bamboo”, there are reported growth rates of even 250cm (98 inches) in 24 hours… The result depends on a few factors, of course: the species of bamboo, the climate and the soil. (Makes sense.)
Every part of bamboo can be used for something, so there is no need to waste, as the plant has a multitude of applications: Chinese medicine uses bamboo for treating infections, it is used for the creation of many instruments (especially flutes), for weapons, for food (by humans and animals), and much more. Its applications in construction and eco-intelligent design just happen to be the most interesting to me at the moment.
Bamboo is a strong construction material, just like a true wood.
It might be helpful to note that, prior to using it for construction, it should be treated (against insects and rot). A common solution is a mixture or borax and boric acid, but I haven’t tried that myself… Another possibility is to boil the cut bamboo in order to remove the starches which attract insects.
Photo: Mike Hollman
By the way, in Japan, Shinto shrines are sometimes surrounded by bamboo forests. They are meant to be a sacred natural barrier against evil.
Might be worth looking into as well.