Green Steel

by Charlotte King

It’s fast-growing, flexible and strong. Standing underneath a bamboo canopy, it is easy to understand why people have been using this grass plant for years, in the construction of houses, bridges,scaffolding.

Bamboo has several advantages in construction, including its height, light weight, excellent tensile strength and flexibility. Critically, bamboo is also abundantly available and low cost, making it a traditional choice of housing material for many poorer communities.

Despite its many advantages, for years bamboo has been regarded as ‘poor man’s timber’: a cheaper, less resilient form of construction material. According to Orin Hardy, founder of bamboo training course Bamboo U, “There was a time when nobody would want to be seen to live in a bamboo house.”

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