Creating Sustainable Spaces with Bamboo


Bamboo is one of the fastest growing, renewable resources in the world. It absorbs CO2 in large quantities. With its properties comparable to hardwood, Moso bamboo is the ideal alternative to increasingly scarce tropical hardwoods. Below we will explain why MOSO® is the most sustainable choice for your next project.



About bamboo


Wood, plant, grass?

From a botanical point of view, bamboo belongs to the grasses and is therefore not a tree. Bamboo is a collective name for a group of botanical species. Although the complete taxonomy is still evolving, current estimations are that around 1600 different varieties exist. There are considerable differences in size, colour, mechanical properties and climatic preferences. The Moso bamboo species is native to China and other Asian countries and grows up to 20 meter long, with a diameter of 10-12 cm.


Endless resource

Bamboo is an ‘endless’ resource. It grows faster than any other plant; up to 1 meter per day! Each year the 4-5 year stems are harvested, providing room for the younger bamboo to grow to maturity. During growth MOSO® bamboo absorbs more CO2 than is released during production. All solid MOSO® bamboo products are therefore guaranteed CO2 neutral over the complete lifecycle.


From bamboo to MOSO® bamboo


Step 1: Stem to strands

After harvesting, the mature bamboo stems are split in a longitudinal direction and the outer and inner skins are removed. The strips are then crushed using a number of incision rollers which create cross linked strands. The untreated strands are a light yellow colour.

Step 2: Thermal treatment

In several steps, the strands are heated up to 200°C in the presence of saturated steam (to protect the wood from charring or burning) and cooled down. During thermal processing, the moisture content changes and the sugar content is removed from the material. Furthermore, this process changes the colour of the bamboo from white/yellow to deep/dark brown.

Step 3: From strands to product

The dark bamboo strands are dipped into phenolic glue (< 10% of the weight of the bamboo). After drying, the strands are put into a mould, and are then compressed under high temperature and pressure to cure the glue. The output is a large panel, which is cut into smaller sections (boards or beams). These are then further processed and profiled to become the required shape (for example, for decking: a grooved surface and edge grooved to allow installation with fasteners). As a last step, depending on the customer’s request, the boards can be prefinished.

Step 4: Thermo-Density®

We call the combination of compressing and thermally treating strands a Thermo-Density® process. It increases the density from 650-700 kg/m3 to approx. 1.150 kg/m3 and improves the hardness of this product significantly. After pressing, the material is stronger and harder than almost any other hardwood in the world. At the same time, the dimensional stability of bamboo is improved by approximately 50%. 

Besides stability and hardness improvements, the durability is improved to the best durability class possible, from Class 5 to Class 1: Class 1 (EN 350) CEN/TS 15083-2 - simulated graveyard test and Class 1 (EN 350) CEN/TS 15083-1.



The sustainability of MOSO® bamboo


The fastest growing hardwood alternative

The giant bamboo species Moso belongs to the fastest growing plants in the world. It reaches its final length of up to 20 meters within a couple of months (with a speed of up to 1 meter a day during the growing season!). It takes the stem around 4-5 years to mature and acquire its excellent hardwood like characteristics (hardness, strength, dimensional stability). This stands in clear contrast with tropical hardwoods. These take over 50 years to mature, are increasingly scarce and often more expensive.


Carbon footprint

MOSO® Bamboo X-treme®: CO2 neutral during the product lifespan* 

MOSO® has conducted an LCA and carbon footprint study together with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and INBAR. The report (www.moso-bamboo.com/lca) concludes that all assessed MOSO® Products (all solid bamboo flooring, decking, beams, panels and veneer) are CO2 negative during the product lifespan (“cradle till grave”). In this result the high growth rate of Moso bamboo has not even been taken into account, and can be perceived as additional environmental benefit. The environmental impact of MOSO® Products, excluding carbon sequestration effect, was also published in an official Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) following EN 15804 (www.moso-bamboo.com/epd). 

*) This includes the CO2 (biogenic carbon - EN 16449) stored in the product. 


Unsurpassed growing speed

bamboo: the fastest growing plant in the world 

Because of the fast growth, Moso bamboo is managed as an agricultural crop: the annual harvest of the 4 to 5-year-old stems – compared to 60-80 years for tropical hardwood! - provides a steady annual income to farmers and stimulates the bamboo plant to reproduce even faster. Therefore, by default, no deforestation occurs with production of MOSO® Bamboo X-treme®, while large amounts of CO2 are captured in the bamboo forests and products (www.inbar.int/understanding-bamboos-climate-change-potential).


Carbon storage in bamboo

biobased materials act as CO2 sinks 

Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it into glucose (building block for biomass) and oxygen. The CO2 is stored in the material for the lifetime of the product, and even longer if the product is recycled into new, durable products. Due to the fast growth – and related high yields - Moso bamboo locks far more CO2 in durable products compared to wood species. The locked amount of CO2 can be calculated rather simply by looking at the density of the material and taking into account the biobased content. For example, Bamboo X-treme® locks almost 1.660 kg CO2 per m3 of bamboo, which is the equivalent of the CO2 emissions of 14.000 km driven by a mid-range car. 


Suitable for reforestation

Moso bamboo plants have an underground root system called rhizomes from which the stems grow. One single rhizome connects multiple stems. The underground system helps to hold soil and restore water tables, making bamboo very suitable for reforestation on poor grounds. In general, 20-25% of the poles can be sustainably harvested annually without decreasing the size of the plantation or the number of poles per hectare in the forest. The rhizome does not die after harvesting. On the contrary, by harvesting the mature poles, the yield and quality of the plantation actually increases.


FSC® bamboo certification

FSC® is the leading certification scheme for responsible forestry. It was created to prevent the continuous depletion of forests. Although as being a giant grass with an annual thinning scheme, depletion of forests is not an issue for bamboo, in many building projects bamboo is requested with FSC® certification nonetheless. Bamboo has been included in the FSC® system since 2008 being one of the first bamboo companies to be certified and most products can be supplied with an FSC®-certification.


Easy to recycle

Of course we hope you can enjoy the MOSO® product for many years, but there will be a moment when it has ended its life cycle. At that moment another characteristic of bamboo will become important: it is easily recycled, for example as resource to make chipboard. Alternatively, it can be burnt in a biomass energy plant to create green electricity. In this way the use of fossil fuels is reduced.


The future: 100% Cradle to Cradle compliant bamboo

One of the key benefits of bamboo is the rapid renewability, with stems growing to maturity within 5 years. To put this into practice and understand this benefit even more, MOSO® gives a 25 years warranty on Bamboo X-treme® for outdoor applications. During the warranty period, the bamboo has already grown back 5 times. It is clear that MOSO®’s industrial bamboo products, made from 90-98%* of sustainably sourced bamboo material from the fastest growing plant on earth, is therefore a natural fit with the biocycle of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) concept. MOSO® is actively working in collaboration with leading glue manufacturers to develop a bio-based adhesive to bind the bamboo strips.
*depending on the product.


Discover the benefits of bamboo


Hard & durable

  • Biological durability Class 1 (EN 350 / CEN/TS 15083-2), simulated graveyard test / Class 1 (EN 350 / CEN/TS 15083-1).
  • Use Class 4 in accordance with EN 335.
  • Effectiveness against blue stain Class 0 (EN 152).
  • Exceptionally hard: Brinell >9.5 kg/mm2 (harder than any tropical hardwood available).
  • MOSO provides Bamboo X-treme® outdoor products with up to 25 years warranty.
  • Gripsure provides a 15-year non-slip performance warranty.

High stability

  • Very stable as a result of a unique Thermo-Density® process of heat-treatment combined with High Density® compression. 
  • Far more stable than tropical hardwoods - enabling an end-match system (tongue & groove on ends).
  • Limited tendency to torsion.
  • No gap between the ends of the boards necessary.
  • Only 5-6 mm expansion space between the boards.

Easy to install

  • Can be installed using hidden fasteners (edge grooved) or face screwed. 
  • Both sides of the board - grooved or flat - can be used.
  • Fixed board length 1850 mm, easy for 1 person to install, no complicated installation plans necessary. 
  • MOSO® Fasteners make it easy to install and uninstall.
  • End-match system simplifies the installation by allowing the joint to float between the joists.
  • Complementing Thermo-Density® sub frame joists available.

Economical

  • Simple and fast installation: up to 30% savings in installation costs!
  • Reduced waste because of the end-matched connection.
  • Cost effective transportation because of the fixed 1850 mm length.
  • Cost effective and space reducing stocking because of unique multi usable board.

Beautiful appearance

  • A beautiful, natural hardwood look.
  • Choice of flat or grooved surface in one reversible board.
  • Use of hidden MOSO® Fasteners avoids face screwing and plugging.
  • Free of knots and natural plant resins.
  • Choice between natural greying or retaining the brown colour with an exterior finish.

Endless resource

  • Made from bamboo; with a growing speed of up to 1 meter per day it is the fastest growing plant on earth.
  • Ready to harvest after 4-5 years (compared to up to 100 years for hardwood species) - no deforestation.
  • Consisting of approx. 90% natural bamboo.

CO2 neutral

  • Official LCA and carbon footprint studies (EN 15804) confirm that MOSO® Bamboo X-treme® is CO2 neutral during the product lifespan*. 
  • No use of fungicide in the production.

Fire resistant

  • Achieves fire resistance Class Bfl-s1 (decking) and B-s1-d0 (cladding, fencing, beams) (EN 13501-1) without use of fire retardants. 
  • Achieves flame spread index Class A following ASTM E84.
  • As a result, MOSO® Bamboo X-treme can be easily applied in public projects without additional protective measures.

Decking material comparison


MOSO® Bamboo X-treme® Softwood, Impregnated Pine Hardwood, Ipe Composites (WPC's)

Colour

Dark brown

Light brown / beige

Brown

Wide variety

Looks

A lasting natural look

A lasting natural look, but mold can occur fast

A lasting natural look

Wood-print pattern, repetitive, artificial and unnatural

Hardness (Brinell)

≥ 9.5 kg/mm² (EN 1534)

1.5 kg/mm2

5.8 kg/mm2

Very variable, depending on the brand

Stability

Extremely stable

Can undergo severe shrinking, swelling, deformation, warping, and splitting

Most species stable, but depending on the quality deformation can occur

Very variable, can warp, expand and shrink strongly, depending on the production quality

Durability Class (EN350)

Durability Class 1 (expected lifetime 25 years)

Durability Class 4 (expected lifetime 5-10 years

Durability Class 1 (expected lifetime 25 years)

1-3, plastic never decomposes but technical function does

Biological Use Class

Use Class 4

Use Class 2-4

Use Class 3-4

N/A

Density

1150 kg/m3

400-600 kg/m3

1050 kg/m3

1000-1300 kg/m³

Warranty

25 years

Usually 1 year

Usually 1 - 20 years

10-25 years

Fire Class

Fire Class Bfl-s1 following EN 13501-1 and Class A following US standard ASTM E84, without fire retardant

Usually Fire Class Dfl-s1 (EN 13501-1), extra treatment / impregnation needed to reach Fire Class Bfl-s1

Fire Class Cfl-s1 or Bfl-s1 following EN 13501-1 and Class A or B following US standard ASTM E84, usually without fire retardant

Fire Class Dfl-s1, Cfl-s1 or Bfl-s1 following EN 13501-1 and Class A or B following US standard ASTM E84, depending on the brand

Resource

Abundantly available and renewable, stems harvested after 4-5 years

Abundantly, tree harvested after 25-30 years

50 - >100 years, avoid illegal logging

Roughly 60% plastic / 40% wood dust/particles

Sustainability

Stores 1,662 kg CO2 per m³, which is more than the energy used during production

Stores 793 kg of CO2 per m3

Stores 1,634 kg CO2 per m³

High energy use during production and in raw material, CO2 storage only in wood dust/particles

Installation

Fast with clips, or screwed down, relatively little amount of sub structure material needed thanks to the high stability and strength

Screwed down + relatively high amount of sub structure material due to stability

Screwed down or exclusive woods fast with clips + relatively little amount of sub structure material needed thanks to the high stability and strength

Fast with clips + relatively high amount of sub structure material due to limited load capacity

Brittleness

Hardly brittle

Not brittle

Not brittle

Can become brittle overtime due to uv

Weathering

Even and natural

Even and natural, splitting can be visible

Even and natural

Not naturally, colours will fade after time

Maintenance

Cleaning and / or oiling

Sanding, cleaning and oiling

Cleaning and / or oiling

Cleaning

Disclaimer: Source of information available on request. Technical information about wood derived from the Dutch wood literature Houtvademecum and Centrum Hout. Technical information about composites derived from multiple manufacturers websites.