Extreme Green Are Wooden Skyscrapers Safe?
Are wooden skyscrapers safe? This will almost be the newest global question, since a
brand new cacao factory in Indonesia built its very first headquarters made entirely out
of bamboo, and half powered by plant oil. In the near future, they will be using solar
paneling to take their manufactured bars completely off the grid. Their bamboo
structure is very strong and resilient, and they have no reason to think that will not last
for many years into the future. So how possible is construction with bamboo instead of
steel? Can bamboo really replace such a high commodity quality, light and affordable
commodity such as steel? This is an excellent question.
The foundations of skyscrapers must be poured deep, since so much leverage is required
to counterbalance the top end. A certain amount of flexibility is required in the structure
in order to make it wind resistant. Just as grass bends before the wind, instead of
breaking, so skyscrapers have a certain amount of flexibility built into their structure to
give them or rather allow them movement if they need it.
Michael Green, an engineer consulted about the feasibility of using bamboo instead of
steel, confirmed the definite possibilities which are here. For example, he listed bamboo
as being very strong and the larger bamboo plants are quite tough and resilient, being
very difficult to break. It is like having a large number of long wood fibers clumped
together. It may be easier to shape and cut than steel, but it is extremely difficult to
break, while maintaining the flexibility of movement which is so necessary for tall
buildings like skyscrapers. Bamboo is considered to be the construction material of the
future because of how fast it grows and how sustainable it is. While plans for much
larger buildings are being drawn up in Vancouver, so far the largest bamboo building
today is only five stories high. However, new innovations and ideas for making this the
new steel of the future are already in play.
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