"In this quiet farming community, where people may not have a lot of money to spend, but do have plenty of wood and straw, word of the beauty and practicality of Mr. Gundersen’s structures has spread. Solar greenhouses made of local materials can extend the growing season through winter, even in a place where temperatures can drop to 30 or 40 below. In the last 18 years, Whole Trees Architecture has built 25 of them here."
Building with whole trees has some advantages:
- It uses smaller trees that loggers pass over.
- Smaller trees are bendable and curves are stronger than straight lines, so bent trees can support a lot of weight.
- In fact, a whole unmilled tree can support 50% more weight than a piece of milled lumber from the same tree.
- Harvesting smaller trees can pull in more light to a dense forest, a part of forest stewardship.
- Whole trees have the lowest embodied energy of any building material.
- Whole trees are the only structural material that sequester CO2.
Whole Trees Architecture's houses are also designed using passive solar techniques, so they are huge energy savers. But their most outstanding quality may be their stunning beauty, as you'll see in this slide show from the New York Times article.