When over one million people use a particular resource to build their homes with and when that resource keeps their homes standing for over 200 years, we have good reason to pay attention to it. The resource, of course, is bamboo, which is not a new concept for building houses. However, one company – Bamboo Living – has obtained the title of being the first to produce prefabricated bamboo homes, and the first to obtain an environmental certification for doing so. Prefabricated homes are also not new. But when you put bamboo and prefabrication together, now that’s something to talk about.
At Shoo-Foo, we talk a lot about the amazing qualities of the bamboo plant that make it such a sustainable resource. It grows to full maturity in less than 7 years (often within 3 to 5 years), it produces much more Oxygen than regular forest, requires no pesticides or irrigation to grow plentifully and is very strong and versatile when used by humans for survival. It’s a food source, a building source, a craft source and, of course, now a fabric source.
Bamboo Living (http://www.bambooliving.com/) is a company that is right on track with us when it comes to their advocacy of bamboo. And they use it in a particular way to provide an easy-to-adapt product to the Western world that has been used for centuries by other cultures. It’s no wonder then, that since bamboo grows naturally in tropical climates with extreme weather patterns, that we in the West can learn from our Eastern counterparts how to make use of the mighty grass plant to protect ourselves from things like hurricanes, chemicals and pollution.
For those who are wondering, prefabricated homes are basically homes that are built in a way so that they can be assembled and disassembled easily. Their design makes for a building model that can be mass-produced and put together in a short period of time. Think of them like real-life Lego pieces. In short, they are made in one location, disassembled, shipped, then put back together in another location, sometimes in as quick as a day, but usually about a week in the case of Bamboo Living designs. They are great for creating affordable homes that can house families in need and use very little labour.
Prefabricated bamboo homes by Bamboo Living are made in Vietnam (thus supporting local communities, just like our bamboo linen manufacturing in China) and shipped within 3 to 6 months to any destination worldwide. Like our bamboo linens, the ecological footprint of the housing shipment is minor compared to other forms of freight. But that’s only the beginning.
The company has taken care to reduce construction waste, to meet energy efficient standards and to minimize the use of chemicals such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). For our human lifestyles, finishes with low chemical use and good ventilation design mean that the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is much healthier for us than traditional homes. The standards they follow are in particular set by the U.S. Green Building Council and their Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Certification program.
The look of this prefabricated home is more natural, compared to the prefabs that are more contemporary in design and open-spaced. Bamboo homes have a tropical, woody feel, yet can be elegant at the same time because of their uniqueness.
The durability of the homes comes with a 20-year warranty and a strength that is able to withstand 173 m.p.h. winds and a 7.5 Richter Scale earthquake (according to Bamboo Living). Bamboo is twice as strong as concrete and of course stronger than woods commonly used to make houses in the West. With that, the company has obtained an International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) Certificate, which translated means their building materials are safe.
With a shared love of bamboo and believe in providing an eco-sustainable product to the general consumer, the thought of prefabricated bamboo homes is an idea we hope the Western world will take on more and more. The prefabrication part of the equation makes building with bamboo more affordable, if not simply quicker and definitely doesn’t compromise on beauty and quality. Could there be a better choice?