Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Are Bamboo Products The Future of Retail?

It's no surprise that the growing popularity and trendiness of “green living” has given rise to an entirely new subset in the global retail industry. With new and recent demands by the public that no longer exclusively includes the extremist eco-conscious microcosm, more sustainable products in retail aimed at the widespread general population are pushing through the niche market into the mainstream.

At the heart of this exponential increase in the green retail marketplace is the material bamboo that encompasses what sustainability represents while being chameleon enough to provide every type of eco-friendly product one could demand. On top of that, Bamboo has the capabilities to produce both quality and aesthetically pleasing products that are able to capture the interest of the mainstream public who are often set in their comfortable buying patterns that can be hazardous for the environment. This combination of sustainability, durability, versatility and beauty makes one wonder that if, while the future of capitalism is sure to be green, is the future of retail rooted in bamboo? All predictions and market trends are pointing towards the affirmative with the industry expected to be worth $25 billion in 2012. What was once overlooked as a predominantly third world material or decorative piece in tropical motifs is about to tidal wave through the global retail industry. Here's why:

Since it can easily adapt easily to changing temperatures, climates, and soil conditions, bamboo can grow everywhere and in almost any condition except Antarctica. It is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-pest which makes the need for pesticides null and void. Bamboo produces greater biomass and 30% more oxygen than a hardwood forest of comparable size.

Bamboo grows on average 1.6 feet per hour and reaches maturity in about five years making it the fastest growing and most renewable plant on earth. Compare this to Oak, which grows on average 12 inches per year and can take 120 years to mature. To put this in perspective, a sixty-foot tree cut for market takes 60 years to replace and a sixty-foot bamboo cut for market takes 59 days to replace.

The tensile strength, or the ability to withstand stress, of bamboo surpasses that of steel. Bamboo’s tensile strength is 28,000 per square inch, while steel rates only 23,000 per square inch. That’s why bamboo is used as a building material in areas often wrought with earthquakes.

Bamboo is material that can and is used for almost everything. It is popular as a building material such as flooring, furniture and structures in earthquake-ridden areas. Bamboo products are a choice for clothing, textiles and even paper. In fact, there is not a single industry that bamboo doesn’t touch as it can even substitute for charcoal.

Bamboo not only produces more oxygen but helps to actually reduce carbon dioxide gases faster than other plants, which can help reverse the effects of global warming. Since it is highly adaptable to most climates and soil conditions it can help restore degraded and damaged lands. It also acts as a natural water control barrier, which helps reduce rain run off and soil erosion.

Aesthetically Pleasing
Simply put, bamboo is pretty. Its universally appealing aesthetic makes it popular for both those that lean towards trendy designs and those that favor a more classic look. Bamboo products have a smooth sleek texture that is pleasing to touch and symmetrical design pattern that people like to look at. It produces soft clothing, savory food, unique looking buildings and even good-looking gadgets.

Bamboo products are the new kings of the green and environmentally friendly retail market. With its flawless reputation and ability to “do it all” the trend towards bamboo becoming the future of all retail seems imminent.

(Read more)

(Excerpt of article by Greg Voakes of Business Insider.

For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our
website at or contact us at

Blog by: Dustin Dennison

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Growing the Future of Bamboo Products

Bamboo has nothing but a positive reputation when it comes to the environment. It grows quickly, it doesn't need pesticides or much water, it pulls carbon dioxide out of the air, and it can be used in a nearly unimaginable range of products. With its well deserved, eco-friendly reputation, companies have been quick to integrate bamboo into product lines and new bamboo-based businesses continue to pop up.

There are now bamboo shirts, skirts, socks, underwear, furniture, floors, paper, plates, sheets, towels, plates, bowls, spoons, kitchen utensils, keyboards, cleaning wipes...practically enough items to outfit an entire house made with bamboo everything.

But with great demand comes the need for great supply. As more and more companies look to source products using bamboo, unsustainable harvesting methods may end up killing a resource that has so much potential.

One downside of bamboo's popularity is that it's at risk from over harvesting: The United Nations warns that about half of the 1,200 varieties of bamboo in the world are extinct or in danger of being eradicated.

Enter BooShoot Gardens, a plant tissue culture laboratory out of Mount Vernon, Wash., that is growing large amounts of specific types of bamboo to replenish and increase the world's bamboo supply and meet the demand from companies like Method and Totally Bamboo.

Founded in 1998 by Jackie Heinricher, BooShoot produced 2,000 bamboo plants in 2004, the first year it released plants. This year it plans to produce more than 2 million, and has the capacity to produce 12 million.

The company sells its bamboo through wholesale growers and retailers in more than 20 states and Canada. It's been selling bamboo to a biofuel company in the southeast U.S., projects in South Africa and throughout Southeast Asia.

What's Driving the Bamboo Market

Bamboo has such a green reputation because it grows fast (earning it the moniker of a "rapidly renewable" resource as opposed to a plain old "renewable" resource, a title given to everything from trees to corn to chicken feathers), doesn't require pesticides, uses little water, and pulls carbon dioxide out of the air faster and better than other plants.

Bamboo plants sequester four times as much carbon dioxide as hardwood trees (taking in 62 tons of CO2 per 2.4 acres versus 16 tons per 2.4 acres of trees) and puts out 35 percent more oxygen.

While bamboo has been recognized for quite a while as a green material, its use has shot up in the last few years along with many other green materials. Bamboo goods are proliferating at major mainstream retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, and being used in clothing both from eco-centric companies and more mainstream ones like JCPenney and Banana Republic.

The bamboo goods industry is expected to be worth $25 billion around 2012, Heinricher said, and some companies that make or are looking into making bamboo goods are encountering a supply bottleneck.

While this demand is boosting BooShoot's business, it's having a handful of negative effects on the global bamboo supply. As demand has increased and supply tightened, the final products have been affected. Bamboo flooring, for example, is generally much thinner these days than years ago, Heinricher said.

And then there's the rate of harvesting: Bamboo can be harvested every 5-10 years, much faster than trees used for other forest-based products. But harvesting is starting to outpace bamboo growth and its ability to recover. Cutting down too much bamboo in one area can damage an even-wider stretch of the plant.

"If more than 30 percent (of an acre) is taken at any one time, it begins to affect the viability of the root system and begins to compromise bamboo's ability to replenish itself," Heinricher said.

If an area of bamboo is damaged to the point that it needs to be replanted starting from seeds (or even if farmers want to start new bamboo groves from seeds), they are limited in how many seeds they can get their hands on since it can take 60-100 years for the plants to flower.

What BooShoot Gardens is doing is cutting out that long flowering period by cloning plants - not genetically modifying them - and multiplying them, letting farmers plant them like any other crop.

(Read full article)

(Excerpt of article by Jonathan Bardelline of GreenBiz.

For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our
website at or contact us at


Blog by: Dustin Dennison

Monday, May 21, 2012

Project Innovation award winners announced

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Lamboo, Inc. as the 2012 recipient of the Project Innovation Award. The award was presented on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in the Studio Theater at University of Illinois Springfield. The annual competition provides seed funds for entrepreneurs to start or expand businesses.

(From left to right: Luke Schuette, Founder/CEO; Debby Richardson,
Director of Marketing; Jeran Hammann, V.P. Operations)

Project Innovation is a prestigious entrepreneurial competition where individuals and businesses have their unique ideas recognized and rewarded through this innovative contest.

(Lamboo door system integrated into Pier 1 Imports retail location)

Lamboo, Inc. is a technology company that specializes in the manufacturing of engineered bamboo for structural, architectural, and industrial applications worldwide. As a leader in the sustainable design technology industry, Lamboo, Inc. is an environmentally responsible company that loves giving back to the community. Lamboo has global headquarter offices located in Springfield, Illinois as well as Geneva, Switzerland and is expanding it’s operations nationwide. Within Illinois Lamboo has fabrication and distribution hubs in Peoria, Galesburg, and Litchfield and maintains partnerships throughout the US and Europe.

Radio Interview:
News source:

Please contact Debby Richardson for any questions regarding this
award or to schedule an interview.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lamboo® Elite™ Series

Lamboo, Inc. is pleased to announce that they will be showcasing the Lamboo® Elite™ Series of Products specific to the Aviation Industry within one of the most prestigious shows in the world for the elite business Jet industry, The Farnborough International Airshow July 9th-15th. Lamboo is currently collaborating and supplying premium products into the custom interior jet industry and will be available to discuss supply agreements with current and new players in the market.

Premium Engineered Bamboo Veneer – For Jet Interiors
Premium Engineered Bamboo Components – For Jet Interiors
Premium Engineered Bamboo Panels – For Jet Interiors

*All of our Elite™ products meet the most stringent of Aviation Standards and Certifications Required for the industry.

Lamboo, Inc. and their premium products will be located at booth #H2/B17 and will be represented by Peter Illig, the Managing Director of Lamboo International, based in Switzerland, and our Director of R&D Luke D. Schuette, from the Lamboo, Inc. USA office.

Please contact Debby Richardson for any questions regarding this
show or Lamboo® Elite™ for Jet Interiors.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In Bali, Bamboo Is the Bricks and Mortar

SIBANG, INDONESIA — When Macarena Chiriboga came to Bali in 2009, she had just finished a master’s degree in architecture in the United States, doing her thesis on the use of bamboo as a building material.

The trip was meant to be a vacation. But drawn by the unusual architecture of a school on the island — the Green School, whose buildings are all made from bamboo — she was soon back, and is now designing buildings for a “green village” being built by the developer Ibuku International about an hour’s drive from the Indonesian island’s beaches.

With Effan Adhiwira, a 28-year-old Indonesian who is senior architect and also oversees construction at Green School, the Ibuku team is creating a collection of structures that look more like treehouses and pirate ships than luxury villas.

But they are actually luxury villas. Perched on huge bamboo poles, and overshadowed by lush green jungle on the edge of the rock-strewn Ayung River, they have multiple, verandah-like levels, beautifully designed kitchens and bathrooms, and very few walls.

“People tend to have this assumption that luxury is all about air-conditioning and technology, about owning a big car — but luxury can also be about feeling the wind blow right through your house, being in contact with nature and walking around barefoot in your home,” said Ms. Chiriboga, 26. “These houses are all about allowing people to realize their dream of sustainable living, of experiencing a whole different lifestyle.”

Three dozen buildings will ultimately form the “Green Village,” which is going up on three hectares, or almost 7.5 acres, of land. Giant, 18-meter, or 59-foot, poles, each about 25 centimeters, or nearly a foot, wide, support the roofs and several layers of open-plan floors. Some jut out, mast-like, at odd angles. Smaller, slimmer poles form open-sided stairs that lead from one platform-like level to the next — three or four in each house.

The flooring, the roofs, the banisters that fence in the terrace-like living spaces, but leave the sides open — everything is made of bamboo, lightweight, bendable, super-tensile and specially treated to protect it from the ravages of insects and humidity.

There’s hardly a right angle in sight. Curves and gentle bends rule. “We’re taking bamboo to a different level,” said Ms. Chiriboga, who is from Ecuador. “Where I come from, in South America, bamboo is seen as a poor man’s material. If you’re rich, you won’t use it to build a house. When I show people pictures of what we’re doing here, they are amazed. They never thought you could do these things with bamboo.”

Each of the houses is unique, fitted around the plot on which it is built, said Elora Hardy, creative director at Ibuku. There was no need to bulldoze the jungle, dig foundations and build retaining walls: The structures simply rest on poles anchored in the rock, contouring around their part of the steep river bank.

Each is to some extent tailored to the buyer’s special wishes: Want an open-plan office-cum-media room? Or two rather than three bedrooms? An extra guest bathroom? But, of course.

“It’s like building a super yacht, made to measure, in the middle of the jungle,” said Peter Wrathall, commercial director at Ibuku. At a cost of $225,000 to $750,000 each, the buildings are drawing interest from around the world, he said.

Indonesia as a whole, and Bali in particular, has become increasingly popular with foreign investors, drawn by the country’s friendly climate and buoyant economy. Foreigners cannot own land or houses directly in their own name in the country but it is possible, and common, for them to arrange ownership through local nominees or surrogates. Another option is to acquire long-term leases of as long as 25 years, which can be transferable and extendable, and are thus an attractive alternative, Mr. Wrathall said.

Possibly the most unusual aspect of the Ibuku houses — apart from the fact that they are 98 percent bamboo — is that their sides are largely open to the elements.

Beneath the canopy-like roofs, which are in turn overshadowed by the jungle, there are only floors and the bamboo support pillars. The houses have 150 to 300 square meters, or 1,615 to 3,230 square feet, of living space, but no walls, no windows.

That may sound unbearably hot and steamy, but there generally is a gentle breeze blowing through the structures.

Buyers can opt to have parts of their houses enclosed — with bamboo walls — so the areas can be cooled and dehumidified. But most areas are free of energy-guzzling air-conditioning and costly insulation materials. Ibuku also plans to take the whole “village” off Bali’s electric grid, providing power from biomass, the energy given off by decaying natural materials — all in line with the green, environmentalist philosophy that pervades the development.

(Read full article)

(Excerpt of article by Bettina Wassener of the New York Times.

For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our
website at or contact us at


Friday, May 4, 2012

In Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo

Posted: 3/13/12

In the district of Asosa, the land is thick with bamboo. People plant it and manage the forests. They rely on its soil-grabbing roots to stabilize steep slopes and riverbanks, cutting erosion. They harvest it to burn for fuel, to make into charcoal sticks to sell to city dwellers and to build furniture.

Asosa is not in China, not even in Asia. It is a district in the west of Ethiopia, on the Sudanese border. To many people, bamboo means China. But it’s not just panda food — mountain gorillas in Rwanda also live on bamboo. About 4 percent of Africa’s forest cover is bamboo.

Soon it may be much more. Bamboo may provide a solution to a very serious problem: deforestation. In sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of the people cook their meals over wood fires. The very poorest cut down trees for cooking fuel; those slightly less poor buy charcoal made from wood in those same forests. Every year Africa loses forest cover equal to the size of Switzerland. Terence Sunderland, a senior scientist at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, said that in southern Africa, even trees that can be used for fine carving, such as ebony and rosewood, are being cut down and made into charcoal.

Deforestation starts a vicious circle of drought and environmental decline. Burning wood releases the carbon stored inside. And deforestation accounts for at least a fifth of all carbon emissions globally. As tree cover vanishes, the land dries out and the soil erodes and becomes barren — a major reason for Ethiopia’s periodic famines.

Reliance on hardwood fuel poses more present dangers as well. It’s a woman’s job to collect firewood, and when trees are scarce, women must walk farther and farther to find it, an often dangerous journey.

Much cooking, moreover, is done indoors. The resulting air pollution kills some two million people a year. Almost half the deaths are from pneumonia in children under 5. Bamboo and charcoal made from bamboo burn more efficiently and cleanly than wood and wood charcoal

Sunderland is talking to several southern African governments about bamboo. Farther north, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, a membership organization of 38 countries based in Beijing, is providing technical support for growing and using bamboo in Ghana and Ethiopia.

How does bamboo improve on hardwood? Cut down a hardwood tree and it’s gone. It will take several decades for another to grow in its place; it can take a century for a forest to grow back after cutting. But bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Under the right conditions, it can grow a full meter a day — you can literally watch it grow. It is also fast maturing. A new bamboo plant is mature enough to harvest after three to six years, depending on the species. Most important, bamboo is renewable. Unlike hardwood trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting. After it is mature, bamboo can be harvested every single year for the life of the plant.

Bamboo has other advantages. Its roots grab onto soil and hold it fast. Plant bamboo on a steep slope or riverbank and it prevents mudslides and erosion. And bamboo is parsimonious with Africa’s most precious resource: water.

“In Africa you want everything,” said Dr. Chin Ong, a retired professor of environmental science at the University of Nottingham in England, who was formerly a senior scientist at the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi. “You want firewood, you want to reduce erosion, to maintain the water supply, generate cash and employment. Bamboo comes the closest — it gives you the most things.”

Because bamboo requires few nutrients, it can grow in soil inhospitable to other plants — not only does it thrive there, it can reclaim the land so other plants can thrive, too. Its roots leach heavy metals from the soil, hold the soil together and draw water closer to the surface. One example is a project in Allahabad, India, to reclaim land whose topsoil had been depleted by the brick industry. In 1996, an INBAR project planted the land with bamboo. Five years later, villagers could farm the land again. Dust storms — a local scourge — were greatly reduced. The bamboo also helped raise the water table by seven meters. In 2007, the project won the global Alcan Prize for Sustainability.

(Read full article)

(Excerpt of article by Tina Rosenberg of the New York Times.

For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our
website at or contact us at