Bamboo versus hardwood as an environmentally-conscious option

Strand bamboo flooring is both beautiful and sustainable.

Whether you're looking to install flooring or paneling in a new building or redo existing surfaces, you're going to want to consider the environmental impact of the material you choose, along with price and visual appeal. Traditional hardwood options offer many benefits, but their contribution to deforestation and the fact it takes upwards of 20 years for trees regrow can have severe ecological repercussions.

Bamboo, on the other hand, is an alternative that has many environmental benefits over hardwood products. With greater overall sustainability and natural attributes that actually help to preserve and repair the local ecosystem, bamboo has become one of the most popular options for homeowners and contractors looking to lessen the environmental impact of their projects.

Ecological benefits of bamboo
Moso bamboo, which is native to China and is the material used in most bamboo floors and panels, has many ecological advantages over hardwood alternatives. The most notable is probably its short, five-year growth cycle. The relatively fast regrowth period significantly cuts into the deforestation issues created by hardwoods. And since Moso naturally regenerates on an annual basis, there is no need to replant after harvesting.

Bamboo is also an important natural source for erosion reduction. Its unique rhizome root structure holds loose soil in place, helping to bolster its surrounding ecosystem.

Environmental benefits of bamboo
Aside from working with its local ecosystem, bamboo also has many broad positive impacts on the Earth's environment. It can capture up to 70 percent more carbon than hardwood forests on an annual basis, thus having positive benefits for impending climate change.

It is also grown without added fertilizers or pesticides, an important consideration for reducing chemical pollutants in a world where pervasive chemical toxins are causing unforeseen consequences to people, animals and the Earth itself.

Products that utilize sustainable bamboo
Because of its many environmental benefits, as well as its abundance, strength and pliability, Bamboo is used in a wide variety of products, from textiles to furniture to bicycles. In the past two decades, it has increasingly become a go-to resource in the building, remodeling and design of homes and commercial buildings.

There are a number of options available to you if you would like to utilize bamboo in your construction or design project. PlybooSahara and PlybooStrand bamboo flooring, from Smith & Fong, combine the best of the environmental and design worlds as have the beauty of hardwood, are actually harder than red oak, are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and use formaldehyde-free adhesive for bonding.