tropical green building
The fact that cold almost never arrives in the tropics allows us to build without consideration of the insulating properties of building materials. No freezing pipes to worry about here. Just keep plenty of ice on hand for those hot afternoons! We go through many trays of cubes daily in the summer.
Growing your own building materials is a real advantage not always available across the earth. In the tropics, leaves and sticks are grown to make rainproof shelters, called palapas here in Mexico. Fan palm leaves are commonly used to cover the roof area.
The leaves are laid shingle style, layers going on overlapping the one below to keep out the rain. Palo de arco or carrizo (like bamboo) sticks are placed before the palm goes on, either nailed or tied to the rafters. The very natural feel and appearance of this type of construction makes it quite popular.
Shade structures can be made also, utilizing the palo de arco and carrizo sticks, weaving green pieces into panels and sections. Doors, gates, and all sorts of works can be seen as one travels around tropical Baja, using these 2 materials.
Carrizo grows very fast and is harvestable about 8 months after planting. Being perennials, these plants keep on giving harvest for many years. At our Baja ranch, we have 10 acres planted in these 3 cultivars,...fan palm, carrizo, and palo de arco.
Be very careful with fire around palapas and other palm structures, as they are flammable.
We have bountiful self-sufficient construction capabilities, using our leaves and sticks we grow here, and that feels good.