HomeExpertSpeakBamboo: Nature's High Value Construction Material

Bamboo: Nature’s High Value Construction Material

Every year on the 18th of September, World Bamboo Day is celebrated as an effort to increase awareness about Bamboo globally and I – Muthukrishnan Anand, Green Building Professional, Indian Green Building Council, CII-Hyderabad India take this opportunity to once again bring this product as one of the right choice for this World Architecture Day 2018… for a better tomorrow theme.

Bamboo is one of the oldest materials used by humans and have been inextricably linked with people’s lives for centuries.  It has become an integral part of the cultural, social and economic traditions of many societies in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses. Bamboo is a versatile group of plants, which is capable of providing ecological, economic and livelihood security to the people.  It is a rapidly renewable resource, as it is the fastest growing plant in the world and can grow to maturity in 5-10 years.  It has been rediscovered as a catalyst for change and development and as a vehicle for sustainable economic development by NBAR.

Bamboo has the following extraordinary physical characteristics:

Tensile strength

  • Bamboo has a tensile strength of 28,000 psi, which makes it compare favourably with structural steel with a typical strength of 23,000 psi.(Environmental Bamboo Foundation)


  • Bamboo shrinks more than wood when it loses water

Fire resistance

  • The fire resistance is very good and it can stand a temperature of upto 400*C.


  • The enormous elasticity of bamboo makes it a very good building material for earth-quake endangered areas

Less weight

  • Another advantage of bamboo is its low weight. It can be transported and worked easily. The use of cranes is not needed in most cases.


  • Rapidly renewable resource – hence saves dense forest trees
  • High carbon sequestering and environment remediation capacities
  • Versatile physical properties for a variety of building purposes

Bamboo in India

Planning Commission of India is focusing on promoting Bamboo as a wood substitute and has launched National Mission on Bamboo with the objective to place bamboo as a key species and research in the developmental agenda.  According to the National Mission on Bamboo, India has the world’s largest resource of bamboo.

Bamboo application in Buildings

The usage of bamboo for various applications in buildings dates back to antiquity.


  • As a structural material, beams, columns and floors – for low to mid rise buildings
  • As a structural shelter for spaces like exhibitions, outdoor recreational areas, resorts, parking bays, and more
  • As a scaffolding framework – from mid to high rise building construction


  • As an aesthetic and finishing component in building interiors – flooring, walls and partitions, doors and windows, blinds and shades, cupboards and wardrobes, and maore
  • As a furniture material

Landscape & Environment

  • As a large-scale plantation species for restoration of ecological balance – since its carbon sequestering capacity is much higher than many other forest trees.
  • As a fast-growing medium irrigation landscape species which can serve the functions of soild compaction, windbreak, noise barrier and shade
  • Bamboo lends excellent aesthetic value to the garden through graceful form, variations in colour and texture displayed by many sub-types.

Hence, by using bamboo as a building material, one can save the depletion of hardwood trees whose growth period can be upto 50 years. Today, many of the designers are using Bamboo as part of their structures and are fully optimizing the benefit of Bamboo. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bamboo has the potential to replace steel.

Salient features of bamboo

  • Hollow and woody
  • Every part gets utilized
  • High value construction material
  • Providing low-cost, green housing and infrastructure
  • Fibrous structure and the fibres are longer as compared to wood
  • Source of livelihood
  • Providing cleaner bio-fuels
  • Bamboo helps us all mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by
    • Absorbing and storing carbon
    • Protecting forests and watersheds
    • Minimizes Co2 gases and generates upto 35 per cent more oxygen than equivalent stand of trees
    • 1 hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tons of Co2 every year
    • 11 hectares of young forest sequesters 15 tons of Co2 every year

IGBC Green Building Rating System encourages rapidly renewable material like Bamboo.

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