11 Nov Top 5 reasons why bamboo is the world’s most sustainable building material
You may have read one or two reasons why bamboo is such a wonderful material for a world threatened with severe climate change. But you might not know all the reasons.
Here are the top 5 reasons why bamboo can quite rightly claim the title of the most sustainable building material on earth.
1. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth
Bamboo is a not a tree, it’s a grass. Like any grass it grows very quickly.
Some species grow up to 1 metre in a day! When you grow that fast you consume much less of the earth’s resources to reach a harvestable stage. Compared to commonly used hardwoods that can take 25-40 years to reach a stage where they can be used, bamboo can take as little as 1-5 years to grow before it is ready to be harvested.
2. Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and stores 4 times more carbon than trees
We all know living plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, taking a harmful greenhouse gas out of the environment and replacing it with a life-giving beneficial gas.
What you might not know is that Bamboo does this better than many similar plants.
First when Bamboo breathes in carbon dioxide it stores that carbon inside itself in a process called carbon storage or carbon sequestration. Bamboo does this more efficiently than many other plants, storing up to 4-5 times more carbon than most trees. Not only does it store carbon better, it also releases 35% more oxygen back into the atmosphere than trees do. Giving us literally the precious gift of life.
3. Bamboo regrows without replanting
Growing trees is hard. Once you harvest them you are left with a stump and a root system. If you want to grow another crop of trees on the same soil, you have to go through the process of removing the stumps and roots, re-tilling the soil and replanting new trees which consumes a lot of precious resources.
Bamboo is different.
It doesn’t need any of that. When you harvest bamboo, you cut it off at the base just like a tree, – but then the miracle happens. Bamboo simply grows back from the same root system, just like your grass keeps growing back every time you mow it. No need to remove the stumps, roots or re-till the soil wasting precious resources and releasing more greenhouse gases in the process.
4. Bamboo is more kind to the earth where it grows
Bamboo is an amazing plant. It will grow where other plants will not.
It can grow in very wet soil, clay, sand, almost anywhere. It consumes far less water than plants like cotton do. The complex root system of bamboo and the fact bamboo does not need to be replanted, helps to reduce soil erosion. Bamboo will also grow in nutrient poor soils and in the process of growing make them nutrient rich by returning nutrients to the soil through its decaying leaves.
Even when it comes to harvesting, bamboo is kinder to the earth. As it is so light it can be cut down by hand and transported without the need for heavy equipment like trees.
5. Bamboo requires no pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers to grow
Many plants require a lot of chemical support to grow on a commercial scale. Tons of pesticides and herbicides are used on commercial plants each year to protect them from pests and disease. Also, many plants require a considerable amount of fertiliser to grow. All of these toxins end up in the soil, affecting the natural balance.
Luckily bamboo needs none of this. For a start, bamboo is naturally resistant to pests and has natural antibacterial and anti fungal properties, so it does not require pesticides or herbicides. Unlike many plants that require a lot of fertiliser to make them grow, bamboo can grow with essentially just water and sunshine.