Log Homes and Energy Efficiency
Nothing compares to the cozy, snuggly feeling of a log home. Nestled under tall trees in the midst of a lush forest, a log home is the perfect place to relax, kick off your shoes, and enjoy life. However, with the recent emphasis on sustainability, one of the most common questions prospective log homeowners ask is, ‘Are log homes energy efficient?’
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as a simple yes or no, as wood is not particularly energy-efficient. You need a professional log home builder like Frontier Log Homes to build an energy-efficient log home. Log homes that have been built by professionals who know how to treat the wood and build a modern log home will be highly energy efficient.
If you want a beautiful log home where you can build loving memories, trust Frontier Log Homes to build a house for you that is both energy-efficient and enjoyable to live in.
How Do You Calculate Energy Efficiency?
The most common value that defines energy efficiency is the R-value. The R-value refers to the thermal resistance any building material has and tells us how good an insulator it is and how well it can insulate your home from heat or cold.
For wood logs, the average R-value per inch of wood is around 1.40. Softwoods have a higher R-value than hardwoods.
Is Wood a Good Insulator?
Wood logs are made of fibers. These fibers contain air gaps: when alive, the tree uses these gaps to move nutrients, minerals, and water from the root to the branches. When the wood dries, these gaps are filled with air, which acts as an insulator.
Larger logs with bigger air pockets provide better insulation and energy efficiency than smaller ones. When you decide to build a log home, choose large logs to combine the beautiful, nostalgic look of a wooden house with the energy efficiency of a house built using modern materials.
How Can I Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Log Home?
The most important thing is to hire an experienced company to build your dream log home. Your construction company will make sure the chosen logs are properly dried and processed. Several factors affect this, from the wood’s type and processing to proper sealing.
Choosing the Best Type of Wood
Cedar and spruce offer the highest insulating properties. Pine and fir come next in terms of insulating properties.
Before installing the logs, a log home building company will dry the wood to diminish the moisture content. Frontier Log Homes only use wood with 12% moisture or less.
Likewise, the logs must be treated with insecticides to ensure there are no bug infestations.
Sealing the Wood Logs
When logs are not processed properly, they tend to shrink when their internal moisture dries out. This creates gaps and leakages.
As a result, a common problem that many log homeowners face is that visible gaps appear between the logs. These gaps cause air leakages and bring in cold air from the outside while letting warm air escape. Obviously, this is a nightmare as far as energy efficiency is concerned.
The most important step to ensure a log home’s energy efficiency is for the logs to be properly treated and dried. The next step is to chink and seal the logs to prevent the creation of gaps.
Drains, Pipes, and Gutters
When we build our log homes, we make sure that all drains, pipes, and gutters are directed away from the home. By driving any water and moisture away from the wooden walls, we help keep the logs dry and sealed. Besides increasing the home’s energy efficiency, this has the added benefit of keeping rot at bay as well as minimizing moisture absorption.
What about Thermal Mass?
Apart from the R-value, another metric to evaluate the quality of home insulation is the thermal mass or U-value.
The thermal mass refers to the ability of a material to hold the heat, store it, and diffuse it back to the room. While the R-value measures heat resistance, the U-value calculates heat storage.
Wood logs are sometimes called “thermal batteries.” That’s because they manage to store the heat during the day when it’s sunny and warm and release that heat during the night when temperatures drop. Thanks to its thermal mass, wood can maintain comfortable temperatures in a home throughout the day.
This is particularly helpful in spring and the fall when the days can be bright and warm but the nights can be quite cold. Your log home will save on your energy bill while keeping your home pleasantly warm. Even in the winter, the logs will store any sunshine in the form of heat and release it during the night.
Frontier Log Homes for Handcrafted Log Homes
Frontier Log Homes builds solid log homes with the beauty, warmth, and luxury of wood.
We also take great care in selecting the type of wood that will provide the best possible energy efficiency.
We carefully dry the wood to ensure the lowest moisture and meticulously seal and chink the logs between them to avoid any air pockets, gaps, and leakages.
Our lengthy experience and excellent craftsmanship make our log homes highly energy-efficient and wonderful to live in.
Are you ready to build your own log home? Contact us at Frontier Log Homes to start building! Call us at 970-289-9768 to learn more about our log cabin kit options