Mass timber has been hailed as the solution to architecture’s notorious sustainability problem – that buildings account for nearly 40% of global energy use is by now a worn and overcited fact. But timber isn’t the world’s only renewable material, and architects and engineers have begun looking elsewhere for other possible steel and concrete replacements. One such possibility that has recently come to light is engineered or laminated bamboo, a highly sustainable and structurally impressive material. Below, we investigate how laminated bamboo is made, what its primary qualities are, and how it compares to timber. Often called laminated bamboo lumber or LBL, this material has been looked into as an alternative structural material because of the naturally sustainable and structural qualities of bamboo. With a faster-growing rate and shorter harvest cycle than timber, bamboo forests supposedly have up to four times the carbon density per hectare of spruce forests. Additionally, it is often found it parts of the world with more limited timber resources, making it a better option for certain areas that can consequently circumnavigate issues of timber transportation and thus higher costs and energy use.
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