SUMMARY: The Bark House is best described as A Factory Like A Forest With Products Like Trees. This is an awarded B Corp Best For The World company. The products earned the world's first and only Cradle to Cradle PLATINUM Certification and Architectural Record Product Awards. The work is inspired, informed and infused with nature. Bark House has been featured in over 250 well placed magazines and blogs and was honored in 2017 as a Regenerative Company.
PROBLEM SPACE: Our approach is wholistic in implementation, having strong impacts on the environment, (biomass waste reclamation, zero water, renewable energy, clean end of life disposition), people (honors cultural choices, keeps small farms and private land ownership intact, honoring and rebuilding community) and prosperity (created a new industry with new jobs in an impoverished region, entices visitors to our region).
Previous forestry waste is being up-cycled into high end natural architectural finishes using environmentally sound manufacturing processes with zero water and 50% renewable energy. The products require no chemical treatments and decompose cleanly at the end of their life cycle (80 years for exterior bark shingles) into compost. This industry targets under privileged small business, small farm and small land owners to support them to stay on their land and maintain their fiercely independent nature. Our impact is helping rebuild small mountain communities. Many of our clients travel from across the country to witness our processes and to choose their unique products that make their designs come to life.
SOLUTION: Tulip poplar is the most prolific hardwood specie in the Appalachian region. It is harvested by the logging industry to be used as substrates in the construction of furniture and plywood. The bark from the harvested trees was a waste material, left in the woods, or heaped in piles at sawmills. The color of the material makes it undesirable for even landscape mulch.
Our innovation was:
1) to create techniques and protocols for the environmentally sound harvest of this biomass, waste material
2) to create energy efficient manufacturing methods that maintained the honesty of the material’s authenticity, beauty and strengths and
3. to honor the culture and environmental integrity of a challenged region,
4. to rebuild the local economy with a strategy that meets the culture of the area, and increases the value of the poplar tree three fold.
On an annual basis, over 200 unique vendors receive our training to supply RAW material to our manufacturing facility. The flagship product that we based all our processes on is the yellow poplar tree bark. This material is processed using human and renewable energy with zero water. The business supports local vendors to maintain their independent nature while improving their methodology.
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