Traditional construction systems with the bamboo species Guadua angustifolia Kunth (Guadua) are standardized under the Colombian code for seismic-resistant buildings . These systems are regarded as highly environmentally friendly due to their intensive use of Guadua in the supporting structure and walls. In particular, the plastered cane building system or ‘bahareque encementado’, which provides a low-cost and low-technology alternative for two-storey dwellings,
commonly uses round Guadua for the frame and riven Guadua boards (esterilla) for covering the frame. However, this wall-framing system relies heavily on cement renders for providing combined structural action to resist lateral loads, protecting the material against weathering and ensuring a flat surface for construction finishes. Thick cement renders contribute greatly to the wall mass and together with the foundations result on the highest negative environmental impact in traditional wallframing construction with Guadua. Therefore, the reduction of the use of cement or its complete replacement for alternative binders in the wall-framing 'bahareque' system is a key point for environmental improvement. Widely available materials such as lime, which have less energy intensive production-processes present an alternative to cement. Moreover, lime offers improved breathability within the building and behaves more elastically than cement. This paper explores the potential use of lime as a replacement for cement mortars in 'bahareque' systems and analyses Guadua’s anatomical and chemical features when mixed with lime. The paper describes a “cold process” in which no high temperatures are involved for the improvement of the bonding between lime and bamboo.