Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: A Bamboo Revolution?

By Tom & Carol Braford

Could bamboo revolutionize the Ag and building industries and maybe save civilization and the planet in the process?

Thanks to a generous Urban Ag grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Irresistible Community Builders, LLC is about to find out.

Bamboo is biodegradable, renewable, energy efficient and sustainable. It has 1/3 of the carbon footprint of lumber, 1/8 of that of cement and 1/50th of that of mined steel. It has a tensile strength of 28,000 lbs., compared to 23,000 lbs. for steel. Unlike steel, it will continually return to its original shape after repeated bending. It can be used for columns, beams, floors, roofs and even for reinforcement in modified concrete.

There are some challenges and limitations with many of these applications, so we are going to use it in what we think is possibly its simplest and most efficient application, as struts in a 3-frequency 840 f2 geodesic dome year-round grow room.

It can be left open as a trellis or covered with shade cloth in the summer. In the winter, you can add a layer of greenhouse plastic on the outside and a second layer zip tied to clear plastic peanut jar spacers attached to the hubs on the inside.

We have chosen a 5/8 dome because the first row of triangles tilt out slightly, making it possible to utilize space right up to the edge. We will set it on a 4′ by 8″ super-insulated modular foundation wall that is buried 2′ below grade to get below the frost line and 2′ above grade to allow for doorways without having to cut any struts. This gives us a 20′ plus ceiling at the center, even with the inside layer of plastic, that allows for 15′ aquaponic grow towers in addition to ground level growing, interspersed with below grade tilapia ponds covered by slotted walkways.

This same design could form the basis of a 2-story 1500 ft² house. Just pin-nail the bamboo lattice over the areas between the doors and windows and plaster with carbon negative insulating and waterproof hempcrete inside and out to desired thickness after installing utilities.

Contact: braford@sbcglobal.net