Sustainability assessment of industrialized bamboo solutions for housing programs in the Philippines
Rapid population growth and urbanization have created an unprecedented need for housing solutions worldwide. In the Philippines, it is estimated that more than one hundred thousand additional housing units are needed every year. The housing demand in the Philippines is further increased by the severity and number of natural disasters that affect the country every year. Many organizations work in the country to support the development of reconstruction and social housing projects. The most common construction systems implemented in such projects use concrete in the form of blocks and/or other structural elements. These systems are energy intensive and have high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. It has been proposed that those emissions can be reduced through the use of bamboo-based construction systems because bamboo is able to sequester high levels of CO2 during its growth and potentially store it during the building’s lifespan. The present research aims to assess the sustainability of industrialized bamboo-based construction solutions, such as glue laminated bamboo, in housing projects. Life Cycle Assessment was used to characterize the environmental aspects, CO2 crediting was used to examine the economic aspects and job creation potential measured the social aspects. The results show that the most important variables are the lifespan of the bamboo-based buildings and their end-of-life scenarios. Moreover, because there are currently no managed bamboo or wood forests in the Philippines, the results show that the transition toward a more sustainable built environment will be much faster with the implementation of small- and medium-sized bamboo production facilities compared with industrial wood production. However, the potentially shorter service life of bamboo-based buildings will require higher maintenance and a careful management of the end of life of the product to efficiently store the CO2.