A tree house is every child’s backyard dream, and eco friendly treehouses are part of the future of green building. Summers spent playing in the branches and having a place of one’s own are precious. But what are the long term health and environmental impacts on the next generation?
Materials for Eco Friendly Treehouses
Fortunately, treated lumber has come a long way in the last decade. Since 2003, the wood industry in the United States has not used arsenic for preserving lumber. Handling treated lumber and exposure thereto are now relatively safe. However, the consumption of natural resources for production of tree houses is still a concern.
Several steps can be taken to ensure that a tree house is built in the most eco-friendly manner possible.
- Wood should come from responsibly managed forests or be recycled. Recycled treehouses are great opportunities to use reclaimed wood.
- Trees should not be uprooted and the design of the tree house should be integrated with the existing trees and landscape. Eco friendly treehouse plans should allow them to be attached to the tree by a method approved by arborists in order to allow the tree to continue growing.
- If you choose to add electricity to your tree house, it’s a good idea to set lights on a timer or sensor. That way, if the kids forget to turn things off, the electricity will shut off on its own so energy isn’t wasted.
- All stains used should be non-toxic.
- For a soft landing underneath the tree, recycled tire mulch is an excellent choice.
Eco Friendly Treehouses and Plans
Recycled tree houses can be made from post-consumer recycled plastic or reclaimed wood. A tree house is also a great place to use recycled or reclaimed windows or doors.
Bamboo is a sustainable, eco-friendly choice for a tree house. In addition to being beautiful, bamboo treehouses are lightweight, yet strong, and reasonably inexpensive.
For those who want to remain on the ground, eco-friendly playhouses can be constructed from recycled cardboard. The classic refrigerator box is a perfect choice to do-it-yourself.
For a slightly more sophisticated effect, willow branches can be crafted to make a beautiful eco-friendly playhouse. Willow degrades naturally in about five years. Once the kids outgrow it, it can go straight to the compost pile.
Eco friendly treehouses or play houses are a great opportunity to use recycled or vintage fabrics. Curtains, tablecloths, and more can be added inexpensively by checking the linen closet for old, unused items or visiting your local thrift store.
Vacations in Eco Friendly Treehouses
Eco friendly treehouse vacations are a fun, green getaway. Some of these tree houses are very elaborate, a la Swiss Family Robinson, with rope bridges and swings. Many are fully functional with solar power providing lighting, hot water, and electricity for the kitchen. They often include a flushing toilet and shower facilities.
Tree House rentals are available everywhere from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to the Caribbean.