Houses Made From Bamboo Thanks to GluBam!

The University of Hunan, China, has developed a new type of environmentally friendly residential building, a house whose sub-structure is made entirely from bamboo! Using a new product called “GluBam®” the Hunan University, Institute of Modern Bamboo and Wood Composite Structure Team worked in conjunction with the Changsha Bamboo Kaisen co-operation to build a wonderfully eco-friendly home made entirely from sustainable bamboo.

Bamboo Timber House Built With GluBam®

Bamboo Timber House Built With GluBam®

Hunan University is located in Changsha which is the Capital of the Hunan Province, the university dates back to the Yuelu Academy which was founded in 976 A.D. making it one of the oldest higher education institutions in the world! So it’s no surprise that they have managed to come up with such an innovative solution to building green.

The University of Hunan Researching Green Building with Bamboo

The University of Hunan Researching Green Building with Bamboo

Professor Yan Xiao is head of the Task Force of Independent Innovation of Modern Bamboo Structures and he is the inventor of GluBam® which uses a patented technology to glue together strips of bamboo to make extremely strong timber.

A large number of Chinese houses are constructed using masonry, concrete or steel. These construction methods are generally not environmentally friendly. Whether it is steel, cement or masonry they are all materials which take large amounts of energy to produce and their manufacturing generates high levels of pollution. In an attempt to improve Chinese housing the Hunan Changzhutan region began investigating how to construct houses using far less energy and producing less waste. This is where Professor Yan Xiao came up with the idea for GluBam®.

A Piece of the GluBam® Timber

A Piece of the GluBam® Timber

Bamboo has the right physical and mechanical properties to naturally make it a green building material and the Hunan Province is one of the leading regions in China for cultivation of bamboo as a material for products. These factors made the Hunan Province a great place to start the research of how to exploit the properties of bamboo for large scale building projects. However this did not mean the challenge was easily overcome. At the time the research started the bamboo industry in the area was still low tech and mainly low production quantities. The bamboo economy had not yet started to generate a lot of interest.

The Hunan Province Produces Large Quantities of Bamboo

The Hunan Province Produces Large Quantities of Bamboo

Professor Yan Xiao’s research group conducted a systematic study into the production of bamboo timbers, and pioneered the methods for modern bamboo structured housing. The aim was to enrich the structure of bamboo as the main material used in construction for housing and bridges, at the same time as improving the overall level of the bamboo industry in the area.

Yan Xiao’s team aimed to achieve the following;

  • Create a new sustainable building material
  • Add new points of economic growth in their local region
  • Increase the local bamboo farm incomes
  • Promote social neo-rural construction

Professor Yan Xiao’s research group successfully produced the world’s first modern bamboo structured pedestrian bridge in Leiyang and his GluBam® product received an innovation award from the Popular Science group.

But the team weren’t satisfied with just building a foot bridge, they turned their talents to building a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house using North American structural design standards but using entirely GluBam® instead of regular framing lumber. The result was an eco friendly home built with sustainable materials able to withstand the local weather as well as strong earthquakes.

Yan Xiao's Team Built a 4 Bed, 3 Bath Home with Bamboo "GluBam" Timbers!

Yan Xiao's Team Built a 4 Bed, 3 Bath Home with Bamboo "GluBam®" Timbers!

The University of Hunan is located at the foot of the picturesque Yuelu mountains so they are in a perfect location for green inspiration, checkout the view on this Google Map below;

View Larger Map

So what are the main benefits of using Bamboo as a construction material?

  1. A bamboo timber framed house can be assembled quickly: Using the GluBam® Bamboo timbers and western timber framed home construction plans the house was built very quickly. The process used was very similar to North American-style light wood structure residential housing. The use of the Bamboo structure allowed for a shallower foundation than the traditional masonry or concrete homes which saved time. The main construction period took eight workers just 100 working days to complete compared to the normal 6 – 8 months for the masonry / concrete houses.
  2. The bamboo home exhibits good resistance to earthquakes: The light weight yet extremely tough bamboo structures absorb seismic forces. The box-shaped structure components interact well to absorb tremors and vibrations, maintaining structural integrity even in strong earthquakes.
  3. Bamboo has good insulation properties: Bamboo has a natural organic polymer body, its structure of fiber bundles and thin-walled cells means it has low heat conduction and is an excellent insulator. The bamboo house had cavities filled with thermal insulation and fire-resistant materials. When compared to other homes in the region the bamboo structure greatly reduced energy consumption for heating and cooling.
  4. The bamboo house was extremely cheap: The bamboo frame of the house cost about 950 Chinese Yuan which is about $140 USD!!! Also, once the infrastructure for large scale production of bamboo lumber is in place the cost of housing will be further reduced. The overall cost of building the house was very comparable to a traditional Chinese concrete structure but the environmental benefits are huge.

The Finished Home Made from Bamboo

The Finished Home Made from Bamboo

The finished home in the Hunan Province looks great, see above, so next time you see a timber framed home being built lets hope they’re using this fabulous new bamboo product instead of traditional lumber. Hoepfully the Hunan Province and Professor Yan Xiao’s team can increase production of the GluBam® lumber and teach license out the production methods to other companies to help this sustainable material spread throughout the construction industry.
Take part in our bamboo home poll;

We believe that bamboo houses are the next big thing, there is a continuing trend of big manufacturers turning to bamboo products due to the sustainability of the material. There are many bamboo products for home decor now;
For example:

Once you build your entire house from bamboo timber you can top it off with custom bamboo shades for the windows.

Related posts:

  1. Can Bamboo Save the Planet?
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About Martin

Martin is the editor of the Our Everyday Earth Green Blog. He has a passion for all things eco-friendly, especially green technology.

16 Responses to “Houses Made From Bamboo Thanks to GluBam!”

  1. Hi Martin,

    This is very interesting! In the area where I live the predominant house-building method is masonry. It's a tremendously wasteful, polluting and labor-intensive method it not stops there: since summer here is long and extremely hot, air conditioning is a necessity and masonry houses require a lot of energy to make comfortable. And the insulation methods are as wasteful and polluting themselves…

    Your family has a wonderful site going, you get my vote!
    Jose Perez
    My recent post Improving search engine ranking, first iteration

    • Hi Jose,

      Thanks for visiting our green blog. I guess the masonry just acts like a large storage heater! We used to have a storage heater which heated a concrete block during the day which then released its heat to warm the house at night. Do the masonry homes need lots of heating and cooling to keep at a stable temperature?

  2. Is the bamboo glue/binder formaldehyde free?

    • Hi Randy,
      I believe they used an epoxy resin to glue the bamboo strips together in a hydraulic press. I am not sure exactly what type of epoxy resin they used but there are biocide free non toxic epoxy resins available.

  3. such bamboo house are even an experience natural hotel design in Asia, people pay for 5 star alike price for living in such house in the hot-forest area in Asia. i also collect such hotel info in my blog writing about the bamboo home decor too!

  4. I am in the process of starting a bamboo farm in Africa. I also plan on setting up a bamboo factory. Boy! am I excited!!You bet!!

    • Chrstine: I am inquuiring about your Bamboo project,and how far are you along.I have a friend in Mexico that is using it for roof on a multiple unit complex.

  5. I am amazed what bamboo can do but what will be the life span of the bamboo house? How can we colla borate since we have a lot of bamboo in my country Ghana? Is the house fire resistant? I will send floor plans for quotations. Hope to hear from you soon.

  6. to construct the building structure made by bamboo.what are the chemicals to add in bamboo to increase its life span?

  7. where to buy such glubam house materials

  8. I will like to be train in this kind bamboo construction.Can i be invited to visit your country for training this?

  9. Training in bamboo construction.


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