The Leslies’ home was built with a groundbreaking, code-compliant bamboo paneling system created by BamCore, a startup in Windsor, California.
What’s so innovative about this new technology? For years, builders have
sought an alternative to wood stud framing, which is time-consuming to erect,
reduces thermal efficiency and interrupts the space between walls that could be
filled with insulation. Ten years ago, BamCore founder William McDonald was
mulling over this dilemma with fellow builders when they hit upon the solution:
Timber bamboo is an exceptionally strong and sustainable plant. An average
bamboo culm grows 60 to 120 feet in a year, and, according to BamCore CEO Hal
Hinkle, an acre of the plant yields approximately 10 times as much building material as an acre of wood.
BamCore’s breakthrough was to figure out how to flatten the round culms
with a process that uses no heat, chemicals or water and bind them together with
formaldehyde-free glue. The result: structural panels so strong that the company
had to add a Douglas fir veneer just so builders could drive nails into it.
In construction, two parallel bamboo panels are held in place by top and bottom steel tracks, leaving a hollow cavity in between. The cavity can then be filled
entirely with insulation, creating a much tighter thermal barrier around the house
than traditional wood-stud framing.
One word of caution: if you’re thinking of using this technology in your next
home, don’t hold your breath. BamCore is currently cutting its prefab panels at a
prototype factory and only has the capacity to build a few homes per year. Until it
moves to a mass-manufacturing plant, you can expect to join a waiting list.
On the inside, it’s all
drama; every ceiling in
the home is angled.
BAMBOO PANELING TECHNOLOGY