Monday, April 29, 2013

Ethiopia Leads the Bamboo Revolution

ADDIS ABABA , Apr 8 2013 (IPS) - A combination of an abundance of bamboo and eager foreign investment is making Ethiopia a frontier for the bamboo industrial revolution in Africa, according to this country’s government.

“Ethiopia has the resources, the investment, a rapidly-developing manufacturing industry and a strong demand for our bamboo products from foreign markets. We have what we need. The expansion of Africa’s bamboo sector has begun,” Ethiopia’s State Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Mitiku Kassa told IPS.

Ethiopia currently has the largest area – one million hectares – of commercially untapped bamboo in East Africa, making it attractive to investment partners from the bamboo industry. However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development told IPS that they were unwilling to disclose any figures on the bamboo economy, but added that there had been no formal bamboo economy in Ethiopia until 2012.

“The market potential of bamboo in Europe is massive. We believe that there can be a reliable and effective supply chain built here in Ethiopia to create a bamboo manufacturing industry,” said Felix Boeck, an associate engineer at Africa Bamboo PLC, a public-private partnership set up with Ethiopian partners and supported by the German Development Cooperation in 2012. The partnership plans to invest 10 million euros over the next five years in their Ethiopia-based manufacturing operation.

In comparison to soft wood trees that can take 30 years to reach maturity, bamboo is a fully mature resource after three years, making it commercially and environmentally sustainable.

Sub-Saharan Africa has three million hectares of bamboo forest, around four percent of the continent’s total forest cover. Ethiopia plans to increase its bamboo cover to two million hectares over the next five years.

Small-scale Ethiopian bamboo farmers like Ghetnet Melaku are enthusiastic to participate in the development of the bamboo sector, if investment in its expansion is inclusive of small farmers.

“I am just making enough money to subsist by producing bamboo for the local craft market and, if I had the opportunity, I would like to increase my capacity for skilled production and a better financial return,” Melaku told IPS.

The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) is an intergovernmental organization that assists governments, businesses and local communities to identify innovative bamboo-based opportunities for human development.

It is helping sensitise African governments to the high potential of bamboo as a versatile and renewable resource that can generate sustainable development. According to INBAR, one billion people around the world use bamboo in their daily lives as housing material, fencing and food, and in craft production, etc.

“If properly managed, this highly versatile resource could spur economic growth in a world export market valued at two billion dollars in 2011, reduce deforestation and cut carbon emissions,” INBAR director general J. Coosje Hoogendoorn told IPS.

Deforestation has ravaged Africa’s environment – the carbon emissions from burning timber on the continent alone are expected to reach 6.7 million tonnes by 2050. As 90 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa use firewood or charcoal to cook, the development of an alternative resource like bamboo has become essential.

“Sourcing fuel for cooking food is integral to food security,” said Hoogendoorn. “Rice, maize and pulses all require heat to become edible. Renewable alternatives like bamboo can help minimize deforestation caused by the logging of soft timber wood for cooking fuel and house materials.”

Ethiopia’s government has prohibited the creation of charcoal from burnt wood for retail and is actively advocating sustainable alternatives such as bamboo.

“Bamboo is a major untapped resource for Ethiopia. We are pushing to grow and conserve our bamboo resources. We are starting to work with farmers and enterprises to encourage and develop this sector for the country’s economic and environmental benefit. We are working to undo unsustainable practices and advocate new alternatives,” State Minister Kassa told IPS.

Although Ethiopia has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa, it has increased its national forest cover to seven percent from three percent a decade ago, out of an original 40 percent. Hoogendorn said that governments needed to make financial resources available to enterprises that wished to develop Africa’s bamboo industry.

“We want governments to put structures in place that offer financial support such as micro finance and that remove any hindrance for investors in the bamboo market, so that when companies want to set up a bamboo industry they have access to financial support,” he said.

High demand for Ethiopia’s agricultural output such as bamboo can drive growth and development for the country’s poor if it generates employment opportunities and remains non-exploitative towards farm workers and the land, said research fellow Steve Wiggins from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The ODI is the United Kingdom’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

“It is good if there is another source of demand for farm produce, so long as the economics of bamboo offer decent returns to land and labour, equitable deals can be struck in the supply chain, and the crop is environmentally sustainable,” Wiggins told IPS.

While bamboo production in Asia carries connotations of unsustainable forestry practices and illegal logging, INBAR is working to share lessons learned and bring bamboo production in Africa’s market up to the highest standards.

“Sustainable management of a country’s bamboo sector is extremely important to the future of a country’s market, especially if that country is wanting to export its products to the European market where laws stipulate conformity to high sustainability standards,” Hoogendoorn said.

As the industrial development of bamboo in Africa is in its infancy, investors have until recently been cautious about ploughing large amounts of money into a market whose dividends are relatively unknown.

“We are ready for the same industrial revolution in bamboo development that Ethiopia is currently experiencing,” Andrew Akwasi Oteng-Amoako, the chief research scientist at the Forestry Research Institute in Ghana, told IPS.

He lamented that although his West African country had an abundance of bamboo, it failed to secure the same investment as Ethiopia.

“We anticipate a revival of investment interest in Ghana’s bamboo industry in the near future thanks to Ethiopia’s success,” Oteng-Amoako said.

(Excerpt of article from Inter Press Service. NOT AFFILIATED WITH LAMBOO)


Bamboo not only creates jobs for residents of the country of origin but has the potential in creating thousands of jobs in secondary fabrication and installation in those regions using the material.

Bamboo as a resource is unmatched in its potential as a structurally stable renewable building material. Bamboo produces 30% more oxygen and sequesters 35% more carbon than a like sized timber forest area. With a growth rate of 6-8 years to maturity (compared to timber 25-50) and root structure that eliminates the need for replanting bamboo can be produced on a large scale with much more ease than timber forests cutting costs and limiting energy consumption. Learn more about the amazing attributes of bamboo here.

Learn more about Lamboo

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For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our website
at or contact us at 866-966-2999


Blog by: Dustin Dennison

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Future Wave of Green Buildings

Green buildings is on a rise to be a mainstay in Southeast Asia and proving its value at BEX Asia

Sustainability has changed business practices in Southeast Asia greatly. Three companies in Singapore have made it to the exclusive Global 100 list, which consists of the world’s most sustainable companies. The companies are City Developments Limited (CDL), CapitaLand and StarHub.

In Singapore, the building sector is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emission. Therefore, developers and businesses are increasingly aware of the need to not just implement sustainable business practices, but also to influence their stakeholders.

Singapore is among the leading cities in skyrise greening with over 50 hectares of rooftop greenery in public and private buildings.

The Housing Development Board has also come up with labour saving technology like the Prefabricated Extensive Greening roof system, which allows plants to thrive without irrigation and uses lightweight plastic trays which are easy to install.

Other countries in the region are also expected to invest in the green movement.

In Thailand, USD13 billion may be needed over two decades by the energy efficiency and green construction sector. This conclusion comes after a report on energy efficiency spending between 2003 and 2011. Currently the sector is anticipating the positive effect of energy efficiency, green building standards and certification which will drive growth in the industry. Also the Philippines is positioning itself as the regional hub of multinational corporations (MNCs), and the demand for environment-friendly smart buildings is gaining traction. A third of MNCs want their local headquarters in an “intelligent,” eco-friendly skyscraper. This was revealed by architects, urban planners, a real estate expert and a consultant for environment sustainable structures.

While in Malaysia, the government is currently working on a plan to convert all light bulbs in Government buildings to energy-saving bulbs. The Malaysian Government spends RM2.7bil a year on energy costs, and this does not include the electricity bill for statutory bodies. It is expected that the Government can save an estimated of at least RM800mil across the board if they switched to LED lighting.

Although the role of policymakers and government officers is central in driving the building and construction industry to design and develop green buildings, it is a three prong approach – where government, building professionals and the community, all play an integral part.

All this and more will be discussed at the International Green Building Conference (IGBC) 2013, held in conjunction with BEX Asia 2013 on the 11-13 September 2013 at the Marina Bay Sands, and is supported by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC). BCA will also unveil the 3rd Green Building Masterplan, launch new Green Mark Schemes and latest updates on Green Mark at IGBC 2013.

(Read More)

(Excerpt of article from EcoSeed. NOT AFFILIATED WITH LAMBOO)

Lamboo is working internationally to promote sustainability through the use of green practices and building materials with the integration of bamboo into building and manufacturing markets. Bamboo is a remarkable plant that has a plethora of green benefits. Additionally in it's engineered form (Laminated Veneer Bamboo, LVB) bamboo based products and systems far exceed other materials both in performance and longevity.

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Blog by: Dustin Dennison

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

“Green” Building Construction Rises in U.S.

Taking the “LEED”

in Green Buildings In 2000, the Albanese Organization was chosen to develop the first “green” high-rise residential tower in the United States. Called The Solaire, it was the first high-rise residential project to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certifications is a widely recognized third-party verification that a building is environmentally friendly. Subsequently, Albanese developed three more LEED Certified buildings in Manhattan, The Visionaire, The Verdesian, and The Vanguard Chelsea.

Now comes The Living Building Challenge (LBC). The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. Projects that achieve this level of performance can claim to be the ‘greenest’ anywhere. The LBC requirements go beyond those of a LEED certification. The LBC uses a vetting process to avoid some of the pitfalls suffered by various LEED certified buildings, where “efficient” structures have proven to be less than advertised after completion and energy audits.

One building that is attempting to qualify for the LBC is the newly constructed Bullit Center in Seattle, WA. Qualifying is no small feat: The Living Building Challenge has 143 registered projects in 10 countries, but only three buildings in the United States have been fully certified so far; the largest of those is an eighth the size of the Bullitt Center.

The Living Building Challenge requires a project to meet 20 specific imperatives within seven performance areas (or “Petals”). For the Bullitt Center, meeting the imperatives will include the following:

The location will support a pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly lifestyle. Rainwater will be collected on the roof, stored in an underground cistern and used throughout the building. A solar array will generate as much electricity as the building uses. The building will not contain any “Red List” hazardous materials, including PVC, cadmium, lead, mercury and hormone-mimicking substances, all commonly found in building components. The lifespan of The Bullit Center is projected to be 250 years. The building officially opens on April 22; Earth Day.

Dennis Hays, the president of The Bullitt Foundation, said “The Bullitt Center will be the first office building in the United States to capture rain water, store it and purify it, and then use it for potable drinking water. We will use rain water in our coffee, our dishwaters, our showers, and for everything else. We will filter the resulting gray water and infiltrate it into rain gardens full of vegetation in front of our building. We will make no use of Seattle public water supply.” To help protect Puget Sound, rainwater will be retained on site and “grey water” from sinks in the building will be filtered through a green roof.”

  Bullit Center in Seattle, WA

Other Green initiatives 

The University of North Texas built a state-of-the-art Zero Energy Research Laboratory, where students and faculty will get first-hand experience with sustainable energy technologies. The facility is designed to test emerging technologies that allow building systems to have a net-zero consumption of energy. The UNT ‘Zero House’ uses Benchmark wall panels because they cut the electric load by one half to two thirds. Initially, the facility was powered by solar energy.

“Two faculty members, 6 graduate students and one post-doctoral research associate are working in ZØE research group at UNT,” explained Rambod Rayegan, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the mechanical and energy engineering department. “The research group is currently focused on integrated simulation and verification of the building and its sub systems, air flow and heat transfer analysis of solar chimney, human behavior factors sensitivity and uncertainty in energy modeling of the building, multiyear modeling of the ground loop heat exchanger, and design a novel thermal energy storage system to achieve the maximum utilization of solar power.”

Dr. Yong Tao, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering and PACCAR Professor of Engineering at UNT, and a committee of experts oversaw the design of the lab. Tao is an internationally known researcher in fundamentals of thermal sciences, refrigeration system performance and renewable energy applications in buildings. He joined the UNT faculty in the fall of 2010. Tao also served as the director of the Future House USA project, an initiative that brought together academics, builders, industry sponsors and lobbyists to create a 3,200 square-foot zero-net energy house that was built in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games.

(Read More)

(Excerpt of article from Azobuild. NOT AFFILIATED WITH LAMBOO)

Lamboo, Laminated Veneer Bamboo (LVB), designed from one the most rapidly renewable plant species on the planet, bamboo, has the potential to be integrated in this new wave of "Green" buildings. Lamboo can be used to replace less sustainable materials in nearly any conceivable application from curtain wall systems to office furniture. Additionally use of Lamboo materials can receive accreditation from building codes such as LEED from the USBC on qualifying projects.

LEED Credits available through Lamboo integration

  • MR Credit 6 - Rapidly renewable materials
  • IEQ Credit 4.4 - Low-emitting materials
  • ID Credit 1 - Innovation in Design
    (Environmentally Preferable Material)
  • ID Credit 2 - Innovation in Design
    (Life Cycle Assessment / Environmental Impact)
  • FSC Certification - Available Upon Request

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Blog by: Dustin Dennison 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sustainability in Construction of the Future

Facing the numerous challenges related to sustainability, many research works and experiments are conducted to develop innovative concepts, technologies and construction systems.

In order to identify the key perspectives of this domain, the magazine Habitation publishes an article on the construction of the future, including an interview of Professor Emmanuel Rey of the Laboratory of Architecture and Sustainable Technologies (LAST).

Among the numerous innovations currently under development in the built environment, some tendencies can be emphasized and grouped according to four research axes, which meet the work in which the LAST is presently involved.

Symbiotic neighborhoods.

This third generation of sustainable neighborhoods will borrow principles from industrial ecology to further develop synergies and resource exchanges at the scale of a neighborhood.

Rebuild with flexibility.

Much more than imagining a new ideal city in the middle of the fields, it is necessary, especially in Europe, to determine the optimal way to upgrade existing towns and cities. A key issue will therefore be the renovation, transformation and replacement of existing buildings.

New energy paradigms.

The first efficiency measure always consists in decreasing the needs. This reality is going to make bio-climatic strategies essential, taking into account an increasing number of parameters: passive solar energy and natural light, natural ventilation and passive cooling, weighing the interests of urban densification and quality of life. Integrated design of renewable energy system will also play an increasing role in the next decades.

Recyclable housing.

These enhancements will help the growing, in energy balances, of the importance of grey energy. This will promote, in Switzerland, the use of local resources such as wood, but also to innovate in the field of hybrid construction systems, which combine several materials taking advantage of the characteristics of each. Another major axis is the recovery of construction materials. "Today's buildings are mines for those of tomorrow. We begin to think about improved dissociated building systems which can reduce construction wastes and anticipate their treatment at the time of deconstruction" explains Prof. Emmanuel Rey. (Read More)

(Excerpt of article from Azobuild. NOT AFFILIATED WITH LAMBOO)

Lamboo, Laminated Veneer Bamboo (LVB), is a superior performing sustainable alternative that many will look towards to meet the Sustainable Technology needs of the future. Lamboo is leading the international effort of the industrialization of bamboo materials in both the public and private sectors. Bamboo is unmatched in its strength and longevity as a building material and is one of the fastest growing plant species on the planet. Lamboo is working with a number of distinguished organizations and universities to gain certifications and recognition for the potential role bamboo has in our future. To learn more about these efforts please view our Research and Product Information pages. Stay connected for updates on the growth of bamboo construction as exciting studies are being carried out through the organizations such as the USGBC, and Universities worldwide like the University of Cambridge and Oregon. Updates will be posted in the coming weeks!

For questions regarding Lamboo or our products please visit our website
at or contact us at 866-966-2999


Blog by: Dustin Dennison