Help Build our Bamboo School in Bali <3

We all kinda know that Bali bamboo builders are some of the best-skilled in the world and the possibility is emerging for us to be able to train construction workers from other countries to work with bamboo in it’s native form (i.e. unfabricated) which could help influence development patterns and material use/building trends in counties where bamboo is a somewhat abundant resource but where skills are lacking for local people to utilise bamboo in building their homes/houses (especially) – and where the current trend towards brick and tile homes with air-con and fridges is ever-increasing…. Kinda like how the west has become …. and we know now how unsustainable that is

Courtesy of Jason deCaires Taylor Imagery

Just to give some perspective in terms of energy use… imagine a scale of four times the entire population of “developed country” households (we make up less than 17% of the global population)- who previously had very low enegy use, and on average still use only 20% or less of an average “Western” household, becoming energy users like “us”… conceptualise how big that is and how energy demands use could skyrocket…. (if the trend continues)….

Yes… 2013… nearly 10 years ago

It wasnt until i moves to the Philippines over 6 years ago that I was hit in the face with the reality of “normal” living standards in the “developing world”… one big feature is that growing up with a fridge in your house is not a “normal” thing… most people buy what they need from each day from the local market and secondly, no one really has an air-con. A fridge produces about 116kg of carbon dioxide per year. These 2 appliances are the highest consumers of electricity in an average house (and having worked a bit with solar energy systems, I can kinda conceptualize that in real terms when it comes to power consumption and how much you need to draw from the sun and store in a battery in order to run an appliance).

In the west we have moved far away from low-power consumption living and developing countries are following that pattern generally. Even though we talk about the possibility of living in a less resource-consumptive way through building with more natural materials and using passive solar design to lessen the need for air-con, and of living near or buying our food from regenerative farmers and supporting CSA cooperatives (community supported agriculture – which means local farmers benefit better financially than if they sell their produce to big chains) and reducing food miles…. We are even attempting to design communities where food-growing is part of the system/wholistic plan. The question is, Can this model of sustinable resouce use and community/ environmental benefit ” take off” /be maintained where it already exists or partially exists and could it “catch on” in developing countries “before it’s too late”…….. ? In terms of the environemntal effects of current energy demanding lifestyles worldwide, increased food miles and need to create artificial environments to store food and ourselves in?

And in terms of bamboo becoming a sustainble mass-produced material for the masses, I still wonder whether people in developing countires will be able to afford to use it “in time” to ward off an environmental crisis such as we are already up against (though havent seen the full effects yet (rising sea levels, more extreme weather)… as, it is my observation that wages in developing countries are so low that brick and tile will remain more attractive due to cost and I am skeptical as to whether business interests in the bamboo industry would create initiatives to subsidise the cost of fabricated bamboo building products at a price in-line with what people in developing countries can afford (I’m imagining again 70% of the world population fall into this ‘catagory’ of wage-earner…

On the topic of treatment for bamboo, which remains the main hinderance to its use in developing countries, we have capacity to do some trials for the traditional age-old treatment process of soaking/fermenting bamboo (widely used preservation method used before modern materials and time-constraints”took over”) as we would like to make an economic evaluation on using this method  accounted into the life/growing cycle of bamboo….. In reality, one extra year (for the treatment process) factored in could save on the costs of borax and boric acid products (finite resource) which are often more expensive than the cost of all the bamboo to make a building (in terms of raw material).

Essentially treatment doubles the cost. So, especially for people in developing countries who may have access to bamboo or family land on which they can grow bamboo… some appropriate planning could make bamboo affordable through treating it traditionally. And in general terms for people wanting to build with bamboo in Western countries, the material price can be reduced considerably by using the traditional method (also used in Vietnam and India as well as Bali and Java but currently not seen as “efficient” time-wise ).

So what about affordable bamboo design and building that COULD suit people in developing countries and which lasts /doesnt get eaten by bugs and can also reduce power consumption in average homes……. and also could be a style/concept that (bar strict building codes which currently make building innovation extremely difficult and maybe one day will catch up to what’s actually needed and cease being manipulated by business interests in building codes…) could be applied in western countries ???? The design we are co-creating is practical and could also be attractive in western countries (subject to building codes) and be something a group of 6 or 8 people could build. And, combined with techniques for combining bamboo with Earth Building … could reduce energy needs and emissions significantly.

Having recently finished our first online training with a Malaysian construction company who have had their first taste of bamboo-building Bali-style, we are excited to see how many builders we can affect and bring bamboo-building to a practical awareness that can benefit more people and we are keen to establish a training centre for practical builders at Belega, near Ubud to help share this practical tradition affordably to locals far and wide and demonstrate an ethical fair regenerative collaborative venture with local bamboo builders where wages for builders and teachers are more in line with what we would expect from the “sustainable buildimg material of the future” and at a level which does provide incentive for locals to persue bamboo as a viable career option and potentially share practical knowledge and training to worldwide builders.

We are about to start building our Learning Centre and dormitory at Belega (near Ubud in Bali) and we are offering an online course component. I am super excited to be collaborating with an Earth Builder from the states to see how cob, lime straw and clay straw panels can work with bamboo and create more insulative properties for a bamboo building.

Alongside this, the build is based on a traditional bamboo structure – the likes of which are rarely seen around Bali/Indonesia nowadays as local councils in Bali prefer to build in the “modern style”… We are currently raising funds for materials and salaries for the building construction where you will be able to come and stay and attend training apprenticeship in bamboo… Buy your course ticket now and receive 30% discount on your 2 week bamboo hands-on training apprenticeship at Belega Bamboo School 😃 2 week live-in apprenticeship $595 (Full Price USD$850) or live-out USD$480 (Full Price $685). If you pay your course fee now or when you book your apprenticeship (Redeemable until Dec 2025).

You can also join our online course trainings $110 (to join online group training, access to past video training and resources)

Sign up here:

Join the/our Facebook group to follow our progress🤗 The group is free;

See the full course outline and info:

Come and learn from the best and become an unbeatable bamboo builder!! We have capacity to host up to 22 person work-crews affordably if you are a company and would like to book a training course with us.

THIS WEEK: We will be making the foundation this week (8 pillars/pylons) on a slightly sloping block adjoining the riparian zone of the river in Belega. We are using car tyres as our base for making foundations…. we will be doing earthship-style can colums for the bamboo pillars using bamboo “cans” (instead of aluminium) and used glass bottles. This build is open for 5 more people to join!

We would love you to join our Outreach Bamboo Program and Bamboo Apprenticeship Training and mentorships. Please help spread the word 🙂💖

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