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Sustainable Bamboo Housing

11 Oct 2023

Bamboo is a replenishable, biodegradable, and sturdy resource, and has been used as a building material for generations.

As climate change remains a growing threat globally communities require environmentally friendly materials as the answer to affordable low cost sustainable housing. One promising solution is bamboo — a type of grass. 

Bamboo is a replenishable, biodegradable, and sturdy resource, and has been used as a building material for generations.

This bushy grass could reach up to 100 cm in length each day — a plentiful supply for a natural resource. We take a deep dive into the advantages of building homes out of bamboo and delve into the new methods being applied to make anything from tiny shacks to high-rise housing.

What is Bamboo and Why Build with It?

Bamboo grows up to 2m in a week and is stronger than wood, bricks or concrete with a tensile strength equivalent to steel. Some specific advantages of using bamboo as a green building material include:

  • Sustainability: It is self renewable and can be harvested every 3-5 years. Making it a whole lot more sustainable than lumber, which takes ages to grow.

  • Carbon sequestration: The fast-growing bamboo efficiently absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Bamboo absorbs 62 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per annum.

  • Soil conservation: The extensive root system of bamboo helps to retain the soil, prevents soil erosion. It needs no soil to grow in.

  • Affordability: Abundant in areas such as Africa, South America and Asia, bamboo is significantly less in cost to purchase when compared to imported hardwoods or building materials. This allows the cost of construction to be drastically reduced.

  • Strength: Bamboo has the same tensile strength as steel and much higher compressive strength compared to brick or cement. Bamboo in the right condition has two times the strength of wood.

  • Lightweight: At a fifth of the density of concrete, bamboo buildings lower seismic load and wind pressures substantially. This also reduces transportation costs.

  • Aesthetics: The unique knot and bark patterns of bamboo add character to interior spaces as well.

  • Versatility: Fabricated bamboo can include such things as lumber, beams, trusses, wall panels, roofing tiles, rebar reinforcement, furniture, pipes, scaffolding, and more.

Techniques for Building Bamboo Houses

There are several effective techniques for constructing houses out of bamboo:

Bamboo Frame Houses

It entails fabricating skeletal frames of bamboo beams or poles joined and woven together. The columns and cross-bracing frame out internal spaces which will eventually have walls and room. More bamboo beams and trusses also support the roofs and upper levels. It’s then covered with woven bamboo wall panels or boards.

Bamboo Laminated Lumber

Bamboo can be converted to Laminated Timber Beam — incredibly strong! Glue together bamboo poles to serve as timbers in rafting, jointed, support, and trusses. The laminated timber adds strength and reduces cracking.

Bamboo Mat Board Walls

Bamboo mats may also be prefabricated bunting to be used as wall systems. The mats consist of bamboo slats/strips interlaced in criss-cross patterns to add stiffness. They can then be filled with insulating material – such as concrete, wood chips or rice husks – to improve their stability and sound insulation.

Modular Bamboo Construction

Bamboo as a modular material is factory made into wall/ceiling panel/roofing panelling. These prefabricated modules ready to use can be erected in place with fastening systems. This boost construction speed while maintaining high-quality control at low cost.

Bamboo Truss Systems

Bamboo Trusses for Bamboo Roof Constructions Angular Bamboo Members Can Span Wide Areas Without Intermediate Supports. Structured in equilateral triangle-like trusses gives power and can be shaped into vaulted ceilling. bamboo shingle covering is used, as well for the truss structure).

Bamboo Reinforced Masonry

Bamboo rebars (reinforcing rods) will strengthen masonry, concrete as well as brick walls. This improves the load-bearing capacity of masonry whilst lowering the volume of concrete necessary for it. Adhesive bonds the bamboo to mortar with each layer making it quake-resistant.

Innovative Bamboo Building Designs

Thanks to bamboo's versatility, strength, and beauty, architects have designed innovative bamboo homes in many shapes and styles:

A-Frame Bamboo Cottages

Basic in shape, the A-framing gives ample room inside and loft. The large window openings allow for good cross-ventilation and the sloping roofs are designed to prevent water from pooling in areas of higher elevation. Beneath the overhanging eave protection, the bamboo is shielded from the elements, such as sunlight, precipitation, and wind.

Geodesic Bamboo Domes

Geodesic dome structure made from inter locking bamboo triangle, forms the half sphere. The geometry delivers the desired rigidity devoid of any bending. This dome-like structure serves as the interior of a round house or eco-lodge.

Multi-Story Urban Buildings

Bamboo is being used in modern buildings of up to nine stories high as walls, flooring elements, cladding, and screen systems. Being a light material, bamboo considerably lowers seismic loadings to buildings.

Roof Lancet Arches

Parabolic bamboo arches can create lovely lancet forms as open-roofs. It shows that bamboo can be shaped into organic curves without the need for steel rods. The arches offer an impressive sense of verticality.

Bamboo Tiny Homes

One of the hottest building materials for those in the burgeoning tiny house movement is bamboo. It’s about taking a small amount of ground space and giving as much floor area as possible with a relatively simple structure — bamboo offers the best solution for this approach”.


As sustainability issues continue to grow in importance, bamboo architecture offers one solution in the field of eco-architecture. Bamboo structures last an average of 30 to 50 years when handled well. This is an inexpensive, renewable resource that is tough and flexible. 

Creative shapes like A-frames, geodesic domes, and urban high-rises all work well as bamboo homes in almost every setting — from the developing world to luxury resorts. Be it in any form — be it frame work or walls and roof or roof trusses or simply as adornment, bamboo is perhaps the most advanced sustainable building material out there today.

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