Bamboo-made houses are a common sight in the Philippines and some countries where bamboo plant is in abundance. It’s cheap to construct and yet it can resist an earthquake.
The buoyant bamboo is one of the oldest and most environmentally-friendly construction material commonly used in regions where bamboo plant grows in abundance, like the Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America. Researches and trials have proven that certain bamboo species are sturdier than concrete, as strong as steel, and a lot cheaper compared with other construction materials.
And because of bamboo’s high elasticity, houses made of this material are ductile and would just sway back and forth during an earthquake without damaging its poles.
Bamboo is readily available in commercial quantities in the market. And it’s easy to grow, too. It’s a very fast-growing plant with a growth rate of one hundred centimeters in 24 hours.
Also, a bamboo plant reaches maturity three times faster than hardwood, which takes decades to be a profitable source of building material. And unlike trees that once felled down, its outgrowth can no longer be used, bamboo can grow new shoots each time an older plant is cut down. Because of this property and due to its complex root system, bamboo can also effectively slow down deforestation, reduce soil erosion, and desertification.
Likewise, it’s worth noting that bamboo cultivation has these significant features:
- bamboo can thrive even on degraded land
- it can survive on less water
- it does not need any fertilizer and pesticides
- a grove of bamboo releases around 35 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere than a similar stand of trees.
- it matures faster and can be replanted within seven years; while a stand of trees mature in 30 to 50 years.
Moreover, bamboo is a renewable and sustainable resource because of its ability to self-replenish.
So, if you are planning to build your own bamboo-made house, you may refer to the manual¹.
¹“Manual on Building Bamboo Houses”. Village Volunteers. https://www.villagevolunteers.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Bamboo-House-Building-Manual.pdf. n.d. PDF 22 September 2015