How Green is Bamboo Flooring?

June 30, 2011 in Bamboo Forestry Series, FAQ series, How Green is Bamboo?

To understand why bamboo flooring is a “green” choice, one must first understand a bit about the bamboo from which it is made.  Smith&Fong Co. makes its bamboo flooring, plywood, and veneers from Moso bamboo (Pyllostachys hedrocycla pubescens).

There are well over a thousand species of bamboo.  Each of varying heights, thicknesses, and applicable uses.  Out of all of the types of bamboo, bamboo flooring, veneers, and plywood are all made out of Moso.  It’s thickness in diameter, overall hardness, widespread availability and extreme height make it one of the most commercially viable species for construction. Moso bamboo, didn’t get the nickname “timber bamboo” without reason!

Interesting fact – bamboo isn’t actually a wood, it’s a grass.

Moso is an excellent candidate for building materials.  It grows quickly (as in 70 feet in 3 months!), and is fully mature and ready to harvest in 5 years.  Compare that to 20 to 120 years for various hardwoods.* Moso bamboo, when at maturity is incredibly strong.  Because it is such a hefty species – very tall, hard, and quite thick, it is, hands down, a great choice for flooring.

Because Moso grows so quickly, 20% of the bamboo forest canopy can be harvested annually leaving behind 80%.  Over a five year period, 100% of the forest can be sustainably harvested. An added assurance that the canopy will be left intact — only mature bamboo culms (poles) are heavy enough to get a good price at market.  It isn’t advantageous to cut too often or too young, which benefits the farmer and the environment. An extra advantage to this system is that bamboo does not need to be replanted once harvested.  It regenerates annually.

So we know that Moso bamboo is rapidly renewable and super strong, let’s consider other factors that make this a superb choice as your current or future floor.

In its native environment, Moso bamboo doesn’t need irrigation or fertilizers. Since this particular species (and so many others) is naturally resistant to pests, it doesn’t need pesticides.  That means no pesticide run off or other chemicals are involved in the growth process.

Interesting fact – According to the World Wildlife Fund, Bamboo can sequester up to 70% more carbon per year than a hardwood forest.

Rapidly renewable bamboo is one of many reasons Smith&Fong Co.’s Plyboo brand bamboo flooring is a great choice for your home.  Check back next time to learn about FSC® Certified flooring and why Formaldehyde Free matters as we continue the exploration about “How green is bamboo flooring?”