In the construction world, trees are often thought of as building material at best, a nuisance to be cut down at worst. But necessity is the mother of invention, and when a tree is too beautiful to remove (or it’s protected by law, depending on where you are), there are ways builders and arborists can help the two sides come together. Trees and buildings can coexist!
Consistent, Expert Pruning Shows Trees and Buildings Can Coexist
When properly tended to, trees and houses can live in perfect harmony. A tree can be near a building and not pose a threat if it is kept healthy and pruned consistently. This way, the health of the tree is preserved, no dead branches will break off, and threatening parts can be excised before they become a real hazard to buildings. This is a major step to showing how trees and buildings can coexist.
Trees Help Cut Down On Energy Costs
Trees can actually be an asset for buildings by reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling. Mature trees can act as a barrier that cuts the speed of the wind and provides shade for nearby buildings. This reduces heating costs in winter by decreasing the amount of heat lost; in summer, the costs for cooling are reduced by the additional cover trees provide. When planted strategically in cities, trees can really do a lot of good in cutting energy usage!
Planting On Top Of The Building
As cities see the need for increased green space amid the crush of steel and pavement, more and more large urban areas are trying to incorporate trees and shrubs into new buildings. It’s called “vertical greenery”, and many architects are working through the challenges of combining root systems and concrete to make something successful. Trees and buildings can coexist!
One noted achievement in vertical greenery is the Bosco Verticale, a twin-apartment complex in Milan, Italy. Planted into the facade were 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 perennial flowers. While the building’s designers are still working out some of the kinks, it could show us the way to a much greener future.
Building Around The Tree Is Crucial
If you just can’t get over the fact that the tree was their first, why not build around it? Many homeowners around the world, when they just can’t bear to lose a beautiful tree, will accommodate it into the structure. It’s definitely more doable with smaller parts of the home, like a deck, and in warmer climes. But a restaurant in Toronto has a tree growing right in the middle of its kitchen, which just goes to show that trees and buildings can coexist!
Reducing Stress When Trees and Buildings Can Coexist
This is for the inhabitants of the building rather than the building itself. But research has shown that having close proximity to green spaces in urban settings can help improve mental and physical well being. It decreases stress, reduces blood pressure, and just has a positive impact on the people who live and work in the city. What is a building but the people who give it a purpose? If this isn’t the best part of the relationship between buildings and trees, we don’t know what is!