The Basic Idea
Everything’s Bamboo represents the idea of thinking outside the box. Using modern technologies combined with ancient ones to come up with sustainable, renewable, cost effective, low embodied energy, and appropriate technology solutions to some modern problems. This site is a chance to share some of these ideas with other bamboo professionals, friends, and potential customers to see what we are doing, what we can provide, and what it is going to look like. It is not a slick site meant for E-commerce, so if you are interested, or have questions, please call or e-mail me.
About Scott Yates
My name is Scott Yates. My wife Sonia and I live in the mountains of Western Panama. We have been living here since 2000. We have designed and completed a few houses and other structures using several alternative building systems. You can see some of these and how they were built in the Alternative Construction page.
This bamboo treatment venture was started in 2011. As there was a need to build a market, we made an ultra low-cost kit prototype to prove a business model for affordable kit homes. We are not starting our third home with a new floor plan, the first of eight affordable bamboo homes in Boquete.
My background is in construction. I am licensed in general plumbing in California. I have owned my own plumbing contracting company since I was 18 years old. I spent most of my working career in the SF Bay area in Solar heating applications, energy efficiency, insulation, hydronic heating, and recycling and recovering waste heat from industrial processes. My wife and I moved onto our sailboat in 1994 and sailed away. We “ran aground” in Panama where we now live on a small coffee and orange farm located at 4300 ft in the mountains. We have constructed using structural skin panel systems (M-2 & Covintec), ferrocement, fiber cement, sprinkled with concrete blocks when appropriate. All with the idea of creating lighter homes, with less materials, that are stronger, and allow for more creativity in design. We have experimented with reinforced adobe skins for walls and structures.
On our farm, we are experimenting with different composting methods, uses of effective micro-organisms, fungi, and bio-char in farming, etc. As time permits more pages will be added showing what we are doing. Please check out our Bamboo cabin Prototype and the pages under Alternative Building to get a better idea of what we have been able to do.
Sustainable Business Model
Our business plan for both bamboo treatment for sale as a building material AND the modular kit house format is somewhat still unique. We are starting what is known as a Sustainable Business Model. This model must pay a living wage to its employees, so they are assured health care, can provide their children an education, and hopefully be able to afford at least a version of the homes they are building. It needs to support the community by providing local employment opportunity and using locally manufactured products when possible. It needs to support the environment sustainability, not just locally, but in general, by using low embodied energy products and designing systems that reduce waste to a minimum.
These businesses have a complicated plan whereby workers, farmers, contractors, and customers can participate in the profit structure, according to their inputs or investment in the treatment or construction process. This means customers can buy bamboo culms at retail price, or get some price breaks for treating bamboo on their property, and/or for their use. Workers get a wage and a bonus upon sale. It’s a not a whole lot extra, but it is the incentive to do the job right, and the harder they work, the more they can earn.
This business structure also extends to the “Affordable Kit” house idea. This will allow other contractors to train and install these modular kit homes. We are in the business of selling bamboo, so there is room for more contractors to enter the custom home and the kit home business. There are lots of sizes and styles of homes to keep the competition busy without repeating the designs we are offering. This creates collaborative competition. This business is about more than profit, it is about getting a sustainable and locally made product into the market place as a viable, competitive, and beautiful alternative to the same old way of constructing.