Treehouses aren’t just for kids anymore. Surreal, lavish treehouses are commanding nightly rates that compete with luxury hotels, and a TV show about treehouse design is currently in its 10th season. From building energy-efficient treehouses to designing mini tree palaces, the treehouse trend is serious business.
That’s great news for anyone who would like a treehouse of their very own. Because the popularity of treehouses is booming, it’s easier than ever to find detailed treehouse plans, treehouse construction classes and professional treehouse building services. What is the best way to build a treehouse? Find a local class or flip through some free blueprints to find out!
But even if you just want to build something simple and classic, there’s one special feature that can help you get maximum enjoyment out of your treehouse: electricity. Just having the ability to turn on a light and play a radio can make your treehouse a perfect place to escape for a few hours.
So when it comes to electricity, what are some good plans for an energy-efficient treehouse?
Plan 1: Call in the Electricians
Real electrical work is not for amateurs. If you want a permanent alternating current circuit extended from your house to a backyard treehouse, that task should be outsourced to a licensed electrician for safety’s sake. Fortunately, this may also be a relatively small job, depending on factors like treehouse height, obstacles and distance from the house.
With a professionally installed connection, creating an energy-efficient treehouse is a simple matter of using energy efficient electronics and appliances. The big energy hogs in the average house are the HVAC system and large appliances like refrigerators, dryers and water heaters — and you probably won’t be hoisting anything like that into your treetop hideout.
Plan 2: Run an Extension Cord
If you only want to operate a few small devices and your treehouse is relatively close to an exterior outlet on your home, you can use an extension cord for temporary electricity. You’ll need a heavy-duty cord rated for outdoor use, and you’ll need to measure accurately to ensure the cord will reach.
When you pull the extension cord into your treehouse, you must also find a safe way to secure it so that gravity doesn’t yank your portable TV right out the window. An easy fix for this may be to loop the cord around a nearby tree branch into a loose knot. Don’t overload a single cord with multiple devices, and always unplug and store the cord when not in use.
Plan 3: Set Up a Solar-Powered DC Circuit
If you’re knowledgeable about basic electrical safety and principles, building an energy-efficient treehouse can be done with some low-cost materials. You can connect a car battery to a solar trickle charger, which you can attach to a sunny spot outside your treehouse. You can then connect properly-sized electrical cables to the battery, allowing you to run a few lights or electronics for as long as your solar-powered battery holds up.
It doesn’t get more efficient than free power from the sun, but this setup will also limit your power to whatever sunshine you can harness.
Plan 4: Go Wireless
Take away the roof, and treehouse living is a lot like camping. So who says you need an electrical connection at all? Today’s rechargeable camping gadgets are built for energy efficiency and outdoor use, and your charging station is just a few steps away at your house.
Put together a collection of basics like LED lanterns, an emergency weather radio, a battery operated fan, and even your smartphone or tablet to stay connected. You can buy an inexpensive solar charger to keep things powered up without climbing down, or you can get a high-capacity rechargeable battery pack that can run standard plug-in electronics and appliances.
However you go about building an energy-efficient treehouse, remember to put safety first. If you’ve done your homework and you’re still unsure, there’s no shame in calling in the carpenters and electricians to guarantee your treehouse is as safe as it is fun!
Whether your palace is in the trees or on the ground, make sure you’re saving on your energy bill. Sign up for an electricity plan with Direct Energy and you’ll get the tools you need to track your usage and stay energy efficient. You could even get free electricity every weekend in select states! CenterPoint and Oncor area customers could receive $100 in Visa gift cards with our Free Power 100 electricity plan! Sign up for Direct Energy and get a great deal on electricity today.