Many scientists, engineers, and environmentalists have expressed their deep concern about the increased global temperature in recent centuries. The impact of global warming is evident and cannot be ignored anymore. One of the biggest culprits of climate change is in plain sight, that is, buildings. The architectural sector contributes to 40 percent of the carbon emissions globally. For a long time, governments and other agencies have been reporting the carbon emission produced by building to be substantially less than 40 percent. Until recently when Ed Mazria, FAIA, an architect in Santa Fe, New Mexico, dug into data for the research of her nonprofit organization. According to the data put up here, only 23 percent of carbon emissions are caused by transportation of the architectural materials. Building operations, materials, and the construction sector, by contrast, cause most of the rest. If we don’t change to sustainable development for good, it can lead to our inevitable doom.

A sustainable building should be able to work and satisfy the need of the consumer similarly to a normal building. In addition to that, it should aim to reduce carbon emissions. We can achieve this by using sustainable construction products. Bamboo is now being hailed as a new sustainable product through research, development, and usage globally. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant, producing 35 percent more oxygen than any other plant. It has over 1000 variants adaptable to suit different climate conditions. India has a cultural and traditional history of using bamboo products as a supplement to construction materials. We must review traditional construction practices technologically and develop them with design and performance assessments to create bamboo as a modern sustainable building material in both a technical and cultural sense.

Not only bamboo is more economical it is a very efficient construction material. Bamboo has a compressive strength that is two times that of concrete and a tensile strength that is comparable to steel. Compared to wood, Bamboo fiber has higher shear stress and a greater range of motion. Bamboo may also be bent without breaking. It is one of the strongest building materials, with tensile strength greater than or equal to 28,000 N per square inch, as opposed to steel, which has a tensile strength of 23,000 N per square inch. However, it has to go through a prevention process as bamboo is vulnerable to termites and fungal attacks. To prevent erosion, borax boric acid is used and is found effective to extend the life span of bamboo trees.

Bamboo architecture is embedded in Indian tradition and culture. The climatic diversity in the country has led to the availability of varieties of plants across the country and techniques have been developed over the centuries to use bamboo as a construction material to its higher accessibility. Bamboo is abundantly found in northeastern regions. Mizo house, Riang house, and Adi Gallong use bamboo primarily for different structures. Sometimes thatch is also made up of bamboo leaves. In Bihar, Odisha, and Bengal, bamboo houses are found near river planes. In these houses, bamboo was also used as reinforcement in lime Surki flat slabs. There are several examples of houses over 70-80 years old still in working conditions. Whereas in central India the walls of a traditional bamboo worker’s house are formed of thick bamboo matt covered with mud plaster, lighting and ventilation are provided by timber doors and window frames with bamboo shutters, as well as bamboo jail. In the desert region, it is used to provide support to the home structure whereas in the Southern region of India it is used for walls in a wattle and daub system

Adjoining the global trends many Indian organizations have come forward with contemporary bamboo architecture programs. IPIRTI (Indian Plywood Industrial Research and Training Institute), Bangalore, has developed a modified walling system with Bamboocrete – an upgrade of the Wattle and daub system – as well as a building system for a two-story bamboo structure. IPIRTI has also created various bamboo treatment technologies for use in buildings. It has also created bamboo ply, boards, floors, and corrugated roofing sheets made of woven bamboo. IWST, Bangalore-based Indian Wood Science Institute, has developed a bamboo treatment process as well as a bamboo-wood-plastic composite that may be used in a variety of construction applications. IIT Delhi has also come forward with some research projects on the same. One such initiative is undertaken by Enactus JMI through Project Irtiqa, which aims to fulfill the economic needs of the woodworker’s community by producing an economical line of home décor products by supporting the National Bamboo Mission’s efforts to combat climate change through sustainable development

Sustainable development is essential for our survival. It has emerged as a beacon of hope that shines through the darkness of impending doom. Bamboos being an economically and eco-friendly option can help us in eradicating carbon footprints and eventually lower the average global temperature.


Riddhi Mehrotra

Riddhi Mehrotra is currently pursuing B.A. English hons. From Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. Writing and reading have always been her best companion. She like to see life through a poetic lens and is always on up for explore new opportunities.