No, this is not an alien dwelling on Mars or a robot on Earth 50 years from now. This is a model home designed by three scientists from MIT’s Team H.E.D. (Human Ecology Design): Mitchell Joachim Ph.D., Lara Greden Ph.D., and Javier Arbona, M.S. It was intended to replace old and outdated Habitat for Humanity homes by proposing to grow homes out of native trees.
The idea behind this is for plants to grow manually over a plywood scaffold. Once they interweave with one another, the plywood can be removed and used again to build another “Fab Tree Hab”. Each one is expected to make effective contributions to its ecosystem by significantly removing human impact. The house is heated by solar energy and cooled by special soy based plastic windows that draw in cold air. A rain trough harvests water for human use and works together with the habitat’s plumbing system. What makes the plumbing system interesting is that thought the use of gravity it irrigates the garden, gets filtered by pond organisms, and manages to provide water for household appliances. This house gives nutrients to the environment through its exteriors and walls along with a composting system which treats human waste. Each part of the house gives something back to the environment!
However, this house is still only an experiment and a work in progress and many issues still have to be worked out such as water flow and longevity. Despite the little kinks in its planning, the Fab Tree Hab is undoubtedly a product of innovation. After its completion, people will finally get to say: “I’m going to go water my house”.