One of the central tenets of green interior design is the need to carefully husband natural resources so that a home can be more sustainable. One of the main ways this can be achieved is by using renewable resources. There are numerous renewable resources available such as coconut, cork, water hyacinth, hemp and rattan. In terms of speed of growth the best renewable resource is bamboo.
There are over 1,400 varieties of bamboo. On average bamboo matures in just 5 or 6 years. It doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers and it uses less water than trees. Moreover bamboo produces more oxygen than trees. It is a plant with excellent eco-credentials. This post will look at some of the properties of bamboo and how they can be used to ‘green up’ a home.
Bamboo is hard
Bamboo has a Janka Hardness rating of about 1,400 pounds force. When bamboo is compressed into strand woven bamboo and made into flooring planks with a hard finish the Janka Hardness increases to about 2,500 pounds force. This makes strand woven bamboo flooring as hard as oak and ash flooring. Bamboo has a grain and a light wood color and so makes a great type of sustainable flooring and alternative to hardwood flooring.
Bamboo is versatile
Bamboo is not a wood but a plant; however, bamboo can be worked like wood. Trees take many years to mature and are needed to recycle carbon from the atmosphere. The conclusion is obvious: we should replace wooden products in the house with bamboo items. It is now possible to order a wide range of useful bamboo home items through the internet such as bamboo blinds and shades, bamboo kitchen utensils, bamboo mats, bamboo stakes for the garden and bamboo furniture. In the Far East turning bamboo into useful household items has turned into art. Check out this link to link to bamboo art in Japan for examples for the versatility and potential of bamboo as a material.
Bamboo charcoal is highly porous
When bamboo is heated in a kiln it becomes bamboo charcoal. This is a substance that makes a great fuel as it is smokeless and odorless. It thus makes an environmentally friendly barbecue fuel. In the home bamboo charcoal is useful primarily because of its high porosity. Bamboo charcoal has a weight to surface area ratio of 1:600. This means that bamboo charcoal is great in the home to remove unpleasant odors. Normal air fresheners often contain VOCs that cause medical problems for people. Bamboo charcoal is a good alternative to standard air fresheners.
Bamboo charcoal can be used to dehumidify rooms during the hot summer months because it pulls the excess water vapor out of the air. To restore the absorbing ability of bamboo charcoal it just needs to be left for a few hours in sunlight.
Another great product that uses the high porosity of bamboo charcoal is bamboo charcoal soap. It cleans skin better than normal soap because it draws dirt out from the very bottom of the pores. Also bamboo charcoal soap doesn’t leave a residue on the skin and thus allows the body’s natural oils to moisturize after washing. Bamboo charcoal soap is recommended to remove bags under the eyes and to clear up acne.
Bamboo is antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti fungal
Bamboo has been used for centuries as medicine for a variety of complaints. Bamboo vinegar is particularly prized in China for its medicinal powers. It is still used to treat cases of poisoning. A modern off shoot is the bamboo vinegar foot detox patch that is placed on the foot overnight and helps to reduce toxin levels in the body.
For the home products made of bamboo help to improve hygiene – the bamboo fights viral and bacterial pathogens. Such things as bamboo flooring and bamboo window treatments do a lot to reduce allergic rhinitis attacks and other sicknesses.
Bamboo vinegar also makes a great green cleaning alternative to toxic and polluting cleaners. Bamboo vinegar is diluted with water and can be used to clean flooring, kitchen surfaces and toilets. It can also be used like regular vinegar to clean windows.
The bamboo tradition
None of the above is new. While scientists in the West are beginning to understand better why it is so useful, the knowledge of how to use bamboo has been with us for centuries. In many parts of the world bamboo has a central place in communities supplying building materials, food, fuel, medicine and natural habitat for animals. If the fact is conceded that consumer culture is here to stay then the best way we can do is to use bamboo and other such renewable resources to limit the negative impact on the environment of this modern cultural phenomenon of consuming as a lifestyle choice.