Bamboo Homes on Maui

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Bamboo Construction Offers an Eco-Friendly Prefab Home on Maui

I had the opportunity to attend an open house for a recently completed bamboo home up in Haiku. The home was not for sale, instead it was meant as an open house to showcase bamboo construction. Bamboo Technologies hosted the event. I came away pretty impressed on a number of fronts. The home was beautiful, well constructed, economical and environmentally friendly.

Bamboo Technologies is a company that has been in existence since 1995. The founders of the company are David Sands and Jeffree Trudeau. Sands and Trudeau first built a bamboo home in 1996 and have been working dilligently to get bamboo approved for international building codes. Their business offers a number of prefabricated homes as well as custom homes.

The home itself was beautiful. While Bamboo offers tremendous strength and function, the exposed trusses and overall lines of the home were striking. While it is different than a traditional home, I did not feel like I was in a make shift hut from Gilligan’s Island. Having been inside this home, it came as little surprise when I read that Bamboo exceeds the strength of construction wood by a good margin. The strength was further proven when bamboo homes in the Cook Islands weathered hurricanes in 2005 while nearby wood homes were decimated.

The Bamboo technologies website offers a lot of data on the individual home models including cost estimates. I was surprised to see some of the economic advantages to bamboo. With construction costs rising around the globe, it was good to see that homes could be built between $150 and $200 a square foot. Costs vary depending on whether the owner will be providing some of the finishing labor if that will be done via a contractor. The cost estimates allow for both with individual line items broken down so an owner could mix and match between contractor labor and his own sweat and skills. I imagine that the economical costs may in part be a by product of the speed at which the homes can be erected. A 2200 square foot home under roof was recently erected in just 5 days.

The eco-friendly nature of bamboo homes is one of its most appealing aspects. While it takes an acre of trees to build a typical home, the bamboo necessary to construct a home grows in an area no larger than the home itself. Bamboo timber can be harvested five to seven years after planting vs. 30-50 for hardwoods. The end result is a plant that is far more renewable than conventional timber. It is encouraging to see the use of this technology as the growing economies of China and India and of course the U.S. continue to use more and more timber resources for home construction.

Bamboo is an exciting new building medium that we will see a lot more if in the future. At this time, there aren’t any bamboo homes on the market. However, I will keep my eyes peeled for new listings. We can also help you find the right parcel of land to build a bamboo home. Contact us for more information or additional assistance.

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