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Green Living

Green Living in the BVI  –  The Property Guide is pleased to take up the green challenge and provide our readers with current and relevant information on the best environmentally friendly options and ideas for their homes.  In our first instalment of Green Living in the BVI, we ask our readers to consider bamboo.

While the use of bamboo in flooring and furniture construction has only recently become popular in the West, for centuries Asian and Pacific homes fused this abundantly growing wild grass with their basic home construction and decorating needs.  Once stripped and treated, bamboo forms a very hard but light weight wood that is also very durable.

 

For the environmentally conscious decorator or home owner, bamboo is even more attractive as the small grains provide unique patters and an easily elegant finished look.  Importantly, the wild grass grows very rapidly.  Within four to five years shoots are mature and ready to be harvested.  In comparison to wood, which is derived from trees that need decades or even a century to reach the most desirable age for harvesting; bamboo is an easily renewable source for wood products.

Because of its durability, maintaining floors and furniture is easy.  The thought of hardwood floors have some homeowners thinking about the number of times the wood would have to be resurfaced or polished, even if it could stand the traffic in their homes with constantly moving feet, shoes or even paws.  Bamboo floors are extremely strong and in moist climates, like the hills of the BVI or along our sea shores, bamboo responds better to moist air in comparison to most household wood materials.  With regular polishing floors develop a unique patina that adds character to any home.

Perhaps you care about the environment, but need an extra incentive?  Think about this; because of its sustainability, bamboo products cost less than wood products that are from trees half a century old.  As more designers utilise bamboo, buyers can expect a wider selection of furniture items to choose from, while still being kind to any homeowner’s budget.  The average bamboo floor costs between $5 and $7 per square foot, while commonly used wood flooring, such as pine, oak or walnut, start at $10 per square foot.

 

The savings extends beyond the cost of the material.  If you are interested in building your own bamboo furniture, no speciality tools will be needed.  Unlike oak and mahogany, hardwood tools are not necessary for cutting bamboo.  Despite the strength of the bamboo threads, general hand tools can have you easily cutting and constructing any weekend project.  Available in shorter lengths, you also save on materials needed for projects.

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Bamboo is a beautiful addition to gardens or indoor plants, but we encourage you to look beyond its simple beautification.  If you are looking for new flooring or furniture and hoping to lessen your imprint on the environment and even your pocketbook, we ask you to consider bamboo as a viable and sustainable option.  

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