Bamboo Living homes – a strategic development for CO2 Bambu and a return to the point of origin

This week, CO2 Bambu announced the formation of a strategic alliance with Bamboo Technologies, the market leader in green dream (bamboo) homes, headquartered in Hawaii. For 12 years, Bamboo Technologies has been designing, manufacturing and assembling homes designed by renowned bamboo architect, David Sands. These architectural masterpieces, marketed under the brand of Bamboo Living, have set a high bar for eco-life styles in the United States.

CO2 Bambu and Bamboo Technologies are now joining forces to address a very specific, emerging market, namely homes for retiring US baby boomers looking to establish a home “under the sun” in Central America. The trend of U.S. retirees looking for attractive homes that are environmentally sound, in a region south of the U.S. border, which is both easily accessible to the U.S. mainland and where the cost of living is substantially lower than in most U.S. cities, is accelerating. It was therefore a natural step in Bamboo Technologies’ history that they would respond to this market trend by establishing a production capability for Bamboo Living homes in Central America.

As a reminder, our whole bamboo adventure started when we were looking for ideas for a hexagonal shaped, eco-friendly house we wanted to build, one day, on a beach property in Ostional, Nicaragua. We stumbled upon and that got us thinking about the availability of bamboo in Nicaragua. Soon after, at the urging of our new friend and bamboo expert Gib Cooper, Peta and I attended a bamboo conference in Puebla Mexico. We met David Sands, the architectural genius behind Bamboo Living, and start to visualize together what a future partnership in Central America might look like. However, CO2 Bambu was at the beginning of its start up phase, with nothing more than a vision of what we could achieve in Nicaragua. Fast forward to 2011 and CO2 Bambu has built a factory, executed programs for customers and stood up a high impact bamboo construction team.

From Bamboo Living’s perspective, Nicaragua has a number of competitive advantages over other potential countries: Nicaragua has ample, world-class construction grade guadua bamboo. Nicaragua has skilled carpentry skills and labor rates that are half of neighboring Costa Rica’s. Nicaragua has access to two ports, for export from the East and West coasts of the country, and a road system that allows cost effective road transport from bamboo country south to Costa Rica and Panama, and North to Mexico. And to make all this come together, CO2 Bambu has a team of bamboo-siasts who long ago fell in love with the Bamboo Living brand.

Bamboo Living Central America, our Joint Venture entity will introduce selected Bamboo Living designs, focusing on the market for $80,000 to $140,000 price range. Our current plans are to execute a technology transfer by year end 2011, allowing the Bamboo Living Central America team to start production in the first quarter of 2012.

BLCA’s market will be different from CO2 Bambu’s market, which is for Base of the Pyramid housing and post disaster reconstruction. But BLCA will share CO2 Bambu’s passion for social, economic and ecological impact. The demand for BLCA homes will drive more farmers and eco entrepreneurs to plant bamboo, thereby directly addressing our generation’s climate reality.

We are starting a waiting list for the first 12 homes which we will build in Nicaragua either for construction in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Mexico and perhaps Brazil and the U.S.

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