Steel...Concrete...Bamboo? Sustainable Construction for Any Climate
By Sam Small Vice President - Developing Markets, Bamboo Living | August 10, 2010
Researching what's up and coming in sustainability in resort construction, I ran a few specific Google searches; "Sustainable Steel" got two million on-line mentions, "Sustainable Concrete" also got two million hits, "Sustainable Hardwood" got one million hits but I knew I was in the right niche in today's construction industry when "Sustainable Bamboo" got 1.7 million on-line mentions. Steel, Concrete, Bamboo! When did that happen???
Well, specifically it happened in November 2004 when the International Code Council certified that Structural Bamboo Poles produced by Hawaii-based Bamboo Technologies comply with International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC) and Uniform Building Code (UBC) standards.
Since then, the Bamboo Technologies factory in Vietnam has constructed and shipped over 100 building-code compliant bamboo structures used as homes and vacation resorts around the world, including Belize Island Resorts, Belize, Central America, Kalani Oceanside Retreat, Big Island, Hawaii, Bamboo Village Beach Resort, Phan Thiet, Vietnam and The Magic Waters Resort, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (where the bamboo structures have successfully stood up to three hurricanes).
This was the first time a species of bamboo was approved as structural building material for permitted residential and commercial buildings and it paved the way for the legitimate use of structural bamboo by architects, designers and builders worldwide.
The international certification was the result of decades of research and testing in conjunction with the International Bamboo Foundation, the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, The University of Hawaii and Washington State University, to name just a few.
So far, only two types of thick-walled bamboo are suitable for construction and they need to be vacuum pressure treated in an earth-friendly Borate (salt) solution, altering the sugars and starch, which both hardens the bamboo and protects it from insects. Additional treatments with non-toxic, earth friendly, fungicides protect the bamboo from molding and finish coats are made using water based acrylic with no VOC's.