This past spring, with the help of many, I created my tiny bamboo paradise on a piece of land I call Aka’ula (Hawaiian for red sunset). Adding to the thrill and challenge of being a first-time owner-builder, the build process was documented by a TV production company. The episode (episode 3!) chronicling my Tiny Bamboo Bungalow build aired on HGTV’s Tiny Paradise on July 10, 2017. One of my favorite parts of being involved with the show was being encouraged to add some unique features to my home. (Well, I call it one of my favorite things now that it’s all over – it felt like a lot of pressure at the time!) One idea I came up with was to make my own rain chains. Since the show aired, lots of folks have asked me about them. For those folks and for those of you who haven’t even heard of a rain chain, here you go.
What is a rain chain?
The purpose of a rain chain is to direct rainwater from your gutter to the ground. In many cases, a PVC pipe does that job, especially if the goal is to collect the water. However, if the water doesn’t need to be gathered, a rain chain is an aesthetically pleasing option to lead the rain from your roof to the earth, reducing unnecessary splashing while creating a calming, fountain-like feature for your home.
David Sands (Co-Founder and Chief Architect at Bamboo Living). My father tagged along, too. I had been on a tour of the lab previously, but I was extra excited this time because Blue Planet’s Blue Ion batteries had just been installed at my new off-grid bamboo home!As Big Island residents will tell you, this really is a big island. With countless unique communities and micro-climates, there is always somewhere new to explore. A recent island journey brought me to Pu'u Wa'awa'a Ranch in North Kona. Pu'u Wa'awa'a is home to amazing scenery, roaming livestock, a tight-knit community, and Blue Planet Energy’s state-of-the-art research lab. I drove over to the ranch with
Aloha my name is Alex Pearl.
I am a practicing Bamboodist and you can be one too!
Bamboo is a super grass! Our timber grade bamboo is strong like steel and has withstood hurricane force winds! Its durability allows it to bend without breaking. It is amazingly quick and can grow 3 to 4 feet in a day when shooting! You can cut it, and it'll grow back, making it incredibly sustainable! And did you know that it is naturally termite resistant?! That's right - bamboo is AMAZING!
So, do you want to be as incredible as bamboo? Do you want to be a Bamboodist?! If your answer is yes than it is time to grow the 5 traits of bamboo!
"Bamboo is a cultural symbol of my country," says Duyen, the Quality Assurance (QA) / Quality Control (QC) Manager at Bamboo Living's factory in Vietnam. But that is not the only reason Duyen loves working with bamboo. She knows that her work helps support the planet by saving forests, absorbing carbon, producing oxygen, preventing erosion, and protecting soil nutrients. "Besides that," explains Duyen, "I see the bamboo clump with many bamboo culms growing together...they are connected together as a family." She believes this is part of what makes a Bamboo Living house so special; a family of bamboo poles are united to create a natural, warm home.
I am often asked how Bamboo Living came to be the first and only company to build bamboo buildings that are approved by western building codes.
For me personally, it started as the result of my midlife crisis. I am an architect and was attempting to design and build as sustainably as possible. In 1993, I began designing my own home on Maui’s North Shore. The home was to have an off-grid electrical system powered by photovoltaic panels. I would recycle fifty eight-foot tall by five-foot wide louvered mahogany doors that came out of a Maui hotel that remodeled. These doors would become the walls for the house, mounted on sliding tracks so that the home could open up completely when the weather was nice! I would even incorporate local bamboo that I harvested with friends into the fences and railing pickets for my home.