How bamboo and the cloud are pioneering the latest green building techniques

BamCore is using innovative green building techniques to solve some of construction’s toughest challenges and reduce its carbon footprint.

Autodesk Video

September 26, 2023

  • With the built environment creating 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions, BamCore is driving change in construction with its hybrid bamboo wall panels that are more sustainable than traditional wood-framed structures.

  • BamCore has developed a jobsite app to connect all construction personnel to one digital model for each project.

  • With prefabricated and numbered wall panels, the app makes the install of a BamCore house faster and less expensive than a traditionally constructed building.

As the number of people on the planet grows exponentially, the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is trying to keep up with the demand for buildings. But the industry is also contending with high material costs, a labor shortage, lengthy construction schedules, and a heavy carbon footprint that’s responsible for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But one company is breaking the mold and paving the way toward a more digital and sustainable way to build using new materials and green building techniques.

BamCore has developed an innovative solution at the intersection of nature and technology. The Northern California–based company harvests timber bamboo and eucalyptus, two of nature’s strongest and fastest-growing fibers, to manufacture structural panels that are more sustainable than a wood-framed house and 50% faster to assemble. Although traditional construction workflows are often siloed, BamCore leverages cloud-based platforms so all stakeholders can work from the same 3D models. BamCore’s mission is to create a beyond-zero-carbon future and a more efficient construction process, one structure at a time.

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Zack Zimmerman, Chief Commercial Officer, BamCore: Fourteen thousand new buildings are built every single day in the world, and they’re built with the same materials that have contributed to this massive carbon footprint that our industry has the lion’s share of.

Hal Hinkle, CEO, BamCore: Buildings are the biggest remaining source of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. And a lot of work has been done on making buildings more operationally efficient. But still, more than 10% of global greenhouse gases comes from the making of buildings, the embodied carbon as we call it.

At BamCore, our goal is to take nature’s fastest growing and strongest structural fibers and to bring them in the built world to decarbonize buildings around the world.

Zimmerman: We do that by utilizing timber bamboo and select species of eucalyptus. Those two botanical fibers have the fastest regenerative power that nature provides us. Bamboo can grow nearly 3 feet in a single day. One hectare, which is 2.47 acres, of timber bamboo provides enough framing material to build four homes, compared to one framed with pine.

Hinkle: You have to compare them to wood. For wood to do the carbon sequestration it does, you need 25, 50, 75 years. When you use fast-growing fibers, like timber bamboo, they regrow the carbon that you store in the building in one year.

Zimmerman:Our bamboo and eucalyptus hybrid prime wall system is a dual-panel, studless, because we remove 80% or moreof all traditional timbers inside of the cavity wall. By doing this, you create a stronger, greener, thermally superior, quieter product that can be so much more efficiently installed on the jobsite compared to other conventional framing solutions that are available today.

Traditional framing includes the process of utilizing studs, 2x4, 2x6, from soft-wood timbers. BamCore is challenging this way of framing.

We are effectively tackling operating and up-front carbon emissions from multiple angles. First, in the design stage, we utilize our proprietary design-bid-build platform that we have pioneered from the support of Autodesk. This tool empowers us to create highly efficient designs that optimize the use of our resources.

Hinkle:If the goal is to use greener materials, you want to help the customer with that decision. And through the Autodesk platform, we can take those carbon decision parts and get them out to the customer. This isn’t analyzing what you did do; this is analyzing what you can do.

Zimmerman: When it comes to construction, our patented LOBIC—Load Optimized Biogenic Industrialized Construction—technology allows us to position the structural panels according to their grade and load specifically.

Our focus on prefabrication means that we have the ability to simplify the construction process and field.

We are reducing the reliance on highly specialized skills by providing precise, user-friendly installation instructions on the face of the panels.

Sam Drown, Owner, Concord Homes:So Brylee Farms is a 162-unit townhome development in Eagle Mountain, UT. We designed it with bamboo product in mind. So the No. 1 difference between traditional construction and construction with BamCore is speed. We can just do it faster. These are pre-engineered panels.

You don’t necessarily have to go into a typical set of complicated building plans to find out what your shear wall nailing pattern is. It’s printed right on the panel. So we figure we can save at least a third of the time in framing, which saves us on our finance carry costs.

Zimmerman:The jobsite app has been a phenomenal tool. It allows builders on-site to be able to look at the digital twin of their structure and analyze all of the elevations.

Daniel Escobar, Superintendent, Master Framing: It’s so much easier when I can see the product finished. Right here, I can zoom in; I can look in between the panels; I can see what sort of framing it has in between the panels; I can see where they put the posts, where the framing is set. And I really, really like that—that I can see all of that in just one program on my phone.

Hinkle: We can now share out the new generation of a 3D [building information modeling] BIM model through the cloud. And that allows us to have outreach and scale that we would’ve otherwise never been able to do.

Drown:When the product is all said and done and finished, you wouldn’t know any difference. The things that you would know the difference is that the efficiency will go up because you get better insulation value here; you get better sound insulation. Utility bills will be lower. Hopefully, there are more innovations like this coming that use more sustainable products and add efficiency to the process to keep the costs down.

Zimmerman: We’re not just constructing buildings at BamCore. We’re shaping the future of our industry and the planet. It’s all about building smarter, greener, and more sustainably, one structure at a time.

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