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Can Log Homes be Energy Efficient?

You’ve been dreaming about building a log home of your own, but are more and more aware of emerging energy codes and rising energy costs. You know you want a house that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to heat and cool. Does it still make sense to build a log home today? Can log homes be energy efficient? In this article, we will show you how they can.

Benefits of Log Home Construction

  • The logs themselves:
    • Trees are the ultimate natural renewable resource.
    • It takes minimal effort to cut and manufacture a log home with whole log walls as compared to manufacturing 2×6 boards, insulation and drywall.
    • Logs are excellent insulators with naturally occurring air pockets that hold heat and cold to maintain consistent temperatures.
    • Using eco or water-based stains in conjunction with natural log walls provides a healthy living environment.
  • Size Matters for R-Value
    • R-value is a measure of thermal resistance through a building element. The R-value of a log is about 1.0 per inches thick, so a 6” log has an R-value of 6, while 12”-16” logs have R-values of 12-16.
  • U-Factor – The True Measure of Value
    • Where R-value registers resistance, U-factor measures the home’s overall heat conduction. To fully grasp the significance of U-factor, compare a concrete slab or metal pipe to a block of wood in cold weather, which one is colder?

Keep in mind that the energy efficient benefits of log walls are only as good as the construction methods that produce them. You can defeat the purpose unless you have tight connections, low-e windows, and a well-insulated roof.

Clients Have Success

Past client, Ann Biundo quotes, “In Texas our biggest concern is heat. We are never uncomfortable when we walk into our PrecisionCraft Log home after being away, even in mid-summer triple digit heat. The house retains the cool in summer and heat in winter. We could not be more pleased. It costs us no more to heat and cool this 3,200 square foot log home than it does to heat and cool our older 2,400 square foot conventional home.”

A Oregon couple’s ski retreat was the first log home to receive a LEED Platinum certification. With detailed planning throughout the design phase, smart material selection and the use of log walls, this home was able to achieve super-efficient scores. Read more about this spectacular home in our Inspired Living section.

Additional Sources of Information on Log Home Efficiency:

Log Home Building Codes in the News

The Log Homes Council on Energy Performance