For anyone who gets that sudden urge to become one with nature, but fears the effect they would have on the environment, the building options are quite limited. Radiant heaters can reduce the energy needed to warm a house and solar energy can bring a home off-grid, but the best heating system cannot remove the actual footprint of the building. However, the closest you might be able to get to leaving no traces just might be a house hanging in the trees.
A new tree house design by Farrow Partnership Architects in the E'terra Samara eco-resort in Ontario, Canada, looks to at least offer visitors the chance live in-tune with nature temporarily in their treetop villas, according to Gizmag.
Completely at home in nature
These pods are located inside a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, so they have to be as sustainable as possible, reported Farrow Partnership's official website. The tree houses' design is based off of a samara, which is a propeller-looking seed that falls from maple trees, and they are built using only locally grown wood. The villas hang from the branches creating a building that could almost blend into its surroundings, made from the very materials nearby.
The tree houses are built into three large pieces at another location so no harm comes to the area or tree during construction. They are then brought to the designated area to be assembled and hoisted up into the canopies.
Since the E'terra Samaras aren't nailed into the trees, they prevent any damage to the trunks and bark, ensuring the trees' health and the structures' integrity. Even the carbon cables that support the pods in midair are made of individual cords twisted together like a vine, reported Jetson Green.
Leaving as little impact as possible
While staying at the E'terra Samaras, guests can enjoy living in harmony with nature as their very room hugs the tree supporting them. The tree houses are made to withstand a variety of weather conditions, but are brought down and packed away during the winter, stated Gizmag. If they were permanent, a low-impact heating system harnessing radiant heat might round out the sustainable features.
Without the heaters, the E'terra Samaras still include a host of other green qualities such as a compost toilet and a shower that recycles the used water into the forest. The pods exploit natural sunlight for most of the lighting, but the miniscule amount of energy still needed is supplied by solar panels offsite.