Among the conifer treetops on Vancouver Island, Canada, you will find wooden spheres resting in the company of the leaves. Eve, Eryn, and Melody are liveable, sustainable pods that mirror nature’s principles, and strive to captivate ‘biomimicry’. The spheres offer sustainable features like locally sources wood, water savers, and strategic engineering, lowering heating consumption. The good news is that you can actually stay in and visit these captivating spheres, and by staying in one, you will be practicing sustainable and ethical living. We interviewed the Free Spirit Spheres team about their vision, and we learnt along the way that small decisions can have a big impact.
How did your story begin? What prompted your commitment to sustainable living?
Free Spirit Spheres began with values of conservation at heart- created to inspire a departure from cutting down a forest to make way to build a hotel. This was done with the Ethos of biomimicry: working with nature and living well within an existing forest rather than decimating one to build accommodation. By using nature’s design principles as inspiration to design efficient and comfortable, safe lodging in the forest, people are able to experience the environment in a coexisting fashion rather than one of detriment. Further, by following ideas of biomimicry, the Spheres were created to have a great amount of strength with the least possible surface area (like a nut, an acorn or an egg). As a result, a smaller scale of resources are required, underlining a commitment to sustainable living.
How energy-efficient is your lodging? How do you conserve energy or limit consumption?
As mentioned above, small spaces inspired by biomimicry use the least possible amount of surface area, requiring less energy to heat, and light the vicinity. Other amenities lay in shared spaces, such as the kitchen, reducing square footage. In addition, the use of an electric heat exchanger effectively control moisture, reducing the necessity for as much heat output. We also have high efficiency demand water heaters, and LED lighting.
What water-saving strategies are in place? Does the hotel have low-flow showers or low- consumption toilets? Do you recycle grey water?
As we operate on a well, we engage in respectful water consumption, with water-saver showers and low-flush toilets. We have signage encouraging conservation, and have a high efficiency washing machines. We also encourage the use of compostable outhouses and they are placed at the base of each sphere.
How efficient is your disposal of waste? Do you recycle plastics? Do you compost?
We do recycle plastics, bottles, cans, drink containers, and metal. We also compost organics.
Do you hire locally?
Are the environmental practices talked about and understood by staff?
Are ingredients sourced locally? Is bedlinen made from organic cotton or at least 100% cotton?
When possible, yes. Eve was made out of yellow cedar, a local wood. Eryn’s shell was sitka spruce, another local wood, and her interior was made of teak. Supplies are purchased locally if and whenever possible. Bed linen is sourced for customer comfort. After Eryn was built, Tom made a switch to use black walnut in his Spheres, as it is Canadian wood.
What other unique strategies are in place to ensure your accommodation is as sustainable as possible?
As the spirit of sustainability keeps something going, we believe that hospitality, good will, kindness and community effort encourages creativity in social sustainability factors. We create spaces that are therapeutic and healing, which has an ultimate goal of sustaining the sustainers. By creating a retreat to help people who are actively working towards sustainability- who are drawn to our Spheres through similar values and ethos- individuals are able to recharge and garner inspiration to live in a way that causes less detriment to the planet.
Check out the Free Spirit Spheres website to find out more about the intriguing spheres!