Our Initiative (U.S. Consulate Hyderabad)

Prefabricated Bamboo Homes

Bamboo is a very fast growing renewable resource. It is low in cost and abundantly available in our country. Compared with wood, bamboo has higher strength/weight ratio and can be a perfect substitute for wood. Bamboo has long been traditionally used as a building material for both structural and decorative use. In this respect, India has made a decent progress in using bamboo based composites for prefabricated houses as engineered building material with controlled strength and structural properties from renewable sources.

Traditional bamboo construction is with natural and whole bamboo or bamboo poles whereas our format of bamboo house construction is with engineered bamboo boards. This involves a engineering process where raw bamboo is first converted into hand woven bamboo mats and then these hand woven bamboo mats are converted into bamboo boards of standard size of 8ft x 4ft, bamboo boards are fire, water and termite resitant and life of a regular engineered bamboo house is estimate to be around 30 years.

Bamboo boards comes in various thickness starting from 3mm to 24mm and our construction process involves usage of 9mm bamboo ply for walling and 4mm bamboo pls for false ceiling. The walling and ceiling done with these natural and eco friendly material reduces the temperature by approximately 3 degrees giving the required thermal comfort.

Engineered bamboo products hold the key for growth and development of the sector. The ultimate goal of development is self-reliance using local resources with local skills to satisfy local needs. In this context bamboo is an ideal material. It is a local material with traditional skills to use it in many applications. Production can start as a home-based activity.  Bamboo craft is currently not a full day’s activity but is done in balance with other activities like agriculture and livestock husbandry, but it has great livelihood potential.

In creating jobs with bamboo, there should be a kind of social contract between the environment and the local population. This requires symbiotic linkages into the process itself: the initial processing takes place at the level of the rural poor families, and the final processing is at industry level, with both sectors being interdependent.

In many regions of India bamboo are being cultivated increasingly as plantations. One constraint to bamboo-led job creation is the prevailing notion that bamboo is something that belongs to the past or as a poor man’s material. Also many craft persons in the villages do not see a future in the craft and want their children to pursue a different profession. Traditionally, the handicraft sector is an enormous source of employment, skill and know-how. Products have always been sold at local markets, but the radical economic changes taking place mean that new markets have to be explored. The low level of education of the local worker, the shortage of capital, and a lack of understanding about markets are constraints to be overcome. On the other hand, now that consumers are becoming environmentally conscious, they are demanding “green design” and taking an interest in the total life-cycle of a product, including its long-term environmental impact.

Harvesting creates employment, too. Projects in India have revealed that eight to ten person days are needed to harvest one ton of bamboo. In India, each year bout 4.5 million tonnes of bamboo are harvested commercially, which means 45 million person days. After the harvest, loading and unloading, stacking and handling need two person days per tonne. New Industrial products from bamboo provide immense additional employment opportunities. An Indian study estimates that if one quarter of the plywood production in India is replaced by bamboo mat board, additional employment of about 66 million person days per annum would be created specially for rural women in mat weaving, virtually weaving money at home, in addition to protecting 8,000 ha of natural forests and collateral ecological benefits.

For Costa Rica, it has been calculated that 1,000 houses built with timber require the destruction of 560 ha of rainforest. Built with bamboo, a 60 had bamboo plantation would be sufficient. Among the advantages of bamboo houses is  because of the wood’s elastic characteristics – their resistance to hurricanes and earthquakes. In the author’s opinion bamboo creates many opportunities which are still not being used to the full. This hinders sustainable development and prevents the local population from developing a balanced relationship with the environment.

We at Bamboo House India are trying to use this amazing natural material which is abundantly available in India, use bamboo as a substitute for wood, steel, iron and plastic and creating livelihood opportunities to marginalised communities depending on bamboo and during the process providing smart budget homes.