Stigma of Bamboo Homes

April 28, 2016


I found it interesting as the day after the quake I was speaking with families living in bamboo homes and they were happy they did, saying how much safer they felt when the ground shook.

This article is about the benefits of using Cane for house building including safety when living in earthquake zones.

Part of the issue is overcoming the stigma that bamboo homes signify poverty.

It is far to long an article to put the translated version but there are some key points.  Full article here in Spanish;

.................... another big problem is the idiosyncrasy of Ecuador. "This makes us associate the cane with poverty, when in fact it is a very beautiful material, appreciated in other regions, such as Europe and Asia.

26% of the buildings left standing in Manta need to be taken down.

750,000 people have been killed in the last 20 years or more. All have died because of an earthquake or tsunami, when their concrete-built houses in their great majority were razed or destroyed by nature. In the world, 3 billion people live in earthquake zones, such as the Ring of Fire, where he is Ecuador. Awareness and drills in homes should be a constant, said Robert Glasser, head of the Office for Disaster Reduction United Nations, adding that earthquakes do not kill people, but crumbling poorly constructed buildings, either because the material used it is wrong for the area or because their bases are not solid. Concrete blocks and bricks are most commonly used in homes today, as a synonym for prosperity, materials but are also the most vulnerable to an earthquake. In contrast, straw, wood or cane emerge as sustainable materials.

Not only structural properties exceed those of most woods, but also may be compared to steel and some high-tech fibers. For these characteristics, the bamboo cane is also known as 'vegetal steel'. Its flexibility makes it optimal to withstand quakes. In each node there is a shank transverse septum or septum which gives rigidity and elasticity at the same time. The bamboo cane also has environmental advantages, since emissions with this construction system are almost nil. In addition, its thermal insulation makes it more advantageous in coastal areas.

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