At Treehouse Village Ecohousing, our commitment to our planet goes far beyond building energy efficiency into our homes. We believe in protecting our planet, and are building every aspect of our community around that belief. Building a sustainable community is part of our core vision, and one of a handful of important key drivers of the decisions we make as community members.
Here’s what you can expect from Treehouse Village:
Low Impact Development
We are committed to low impact development at every stage, from land development to lifestyle.
- Passive House design standard for all of our private homes, and a highly efficient building envelope with minimal energy needs
- A reduced physical footprint, disturbing only a fraction of our property to preserving the old growth forest
- Multiple units per building, with stacked units and shared walls to reduce building materials and heating demand
- Low-impact stormwater management through use of bioswales and water-retaining landscape features
- Careful consideration into building materials with a focus on low toxicity, a low carbon footprint, and low embodied carbon
- Wherever possible, the sourcing of local building materials and local contractors to reduce transportation distance
- Intentional project management with consideration around reducing construction waste and the volume of earth trucked off our site
- Shared amenities such as office space, guestrooms and a fitness centre to reduce the size of our private units
- Plans for Solar PV panels to supply energy equivalent to the (low) yearly energy consumption of all buildings, which will deliver Net Zero operational carbon emissions (pending Nova Scotia Power approvals) to minimize our carbon footprint
Environmentally Friendly Practices
Research shows that living in an intentional community and having good relationships with your neighbours significantly benefits your mental health. Our design supports and encourages residents to engage in zero-waste and environmentally friendly practices in some of the following ways:
- Shared tools, appliances, yard and gardening equipment, outdoor and recreation equipment helps community members cut down on the costs and space to keep their own and drastically reduces eventual landfill waste.
- While each household can have their own washer and dryer, shared laundry facilities will give members the option to save the space in their home – and the cost of purchasing and maintaining their own.
- Shared clotheslines allow members the option to dry clothing outdoors, saving energy costs from electric dryers.
- We are incorporating space for gardening and food forests into the landscape design, increasing our access to healthy food with a low carbon footprint.
- With our property located in the heart of the Town of Bridgewater and bordering the Centennial Trail, residents will be able to walk, cycle or bus to complete many of their errands.
- We will provide ample bicycle parking and storage as well as tools and support for bicycle repairs and maintenance
- We have plans for Electric Vehicle charging on site, with up to 30 EV chargers infrastructure-ready (no digging, just wire, install and commission) to minimize the carbon footprint for those who need to drive.
- By working together to grow some of our own food, and buying food in bulk, we can reduce food waste and packaging.
- With the bonus of a large kitchen and dining room in the common house, members will have opportunities to prepare and share meals together as they wish.
- With a workshop on site and a community of skilled residents, there’s bound to be someone to help you fix that wobbly chair or broken toaster.
- We are exploring the potential for members to share vehicles.
- Our community will promote healthy lifestyles through on-site access to both outdoor and indoor leisure opportunities.
- Our buildings are being designed with health in mind, prioritizing good indoor air quality and use of construction materials with low toxicity.
“Social sustainability occurs when the formal and informal processes; systems; structures; and relationships actively support the capacity of current and future generations to create healthy and livable communities. Socially sustainable communities are equitable, diverse, connected and democratic and provide a good quality of life.”– WACOSS, Western Australia Council of Social Services
In a cohousing community specifically designed to share resources and joy, it’s important that all members feel welcomed, equal and heard. We’ve done a great deal of research to ensure social sustainability, including:
- The use of Sociocracy, a consent-based governance system, to give everyone an equal voice and disperse power throughout the organization;
- The combined learning and practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a community;
- The intentional selection of the town of Bridgewater, NS, as our location due to its nationally-renowned progressive vision and government’s work towards being a more sustainable municipality; and
- The intentional incorporation of a high level of accessibility and visitability into our design to ensure that the community is welcoming to everybody.
Our community members’ intentions to support local begin long before they move into Treehouse Village. Here’s how we’re building in economic stability:
- We bank with a locally owned and managed credit union.
- Our development company is owned by future residents; we are not paying an outside developer.
- We hire local professionals and purchase local materials wherever possible to keep our money in the local economy.
We are proud to address the sustainability of our development any way we can. It’s a responsibility that is shared among our members and one we don’t take lightly. We welcome input and ideas from the broader community, so please reach out! We’d really love to hear from you.