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How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Log Homes

If you plan on building a log home, one of your concerns will be about energy efficiency. Will a log home cause you to spend more on energy bills or will the house provide adequate energy efficiency to meet your needs without causing you to spend too much?

The answer is that log homes are extremely energy efficient, but there are also a few things you can do on your home to improve its energy efficiency.

Benefits of building a log home

  • Trees are one of the ultimate sources of natural renewable energy
  • It takes very little effort and few materials to cut down the number of trees you need to manufacture a log home as against the resources needed to build a brick and concrete structure.
  • Logs from trees are excellent insulators and have naturally occurring air pockets that can hold cold and heat to provide consistent temperatures at all times.
  • When you use eco-friendly stains on your natural log walls, you are contributing to a healthy environment.
  • The R-value of a log, which is the measure of its thermal resistance is 1.0 per inch of thickness. So, the bigger and thicker the log you use in your construction, the better the R-value.

Keep in mind though that the energy efficiency levels of a log home are only as good as the construction of the home. Therefore, to optimise energy efficiency, you must aim for Low-E windows, tight connections, and a properly insulated roof.

Having said that, here are how you can optimise the energy efficiency of a log house:

Season the logs properly

Air leakage is liable to occur in log houses built with inadequately seasoned logs. What happens is that as the logs dry, the space between each log begins to expand, creating an outlet for heat and air to escape from the house. The key to reducing shrinkage and its effects is to season the logs you will be using for at least six months before the commencement of construction.

Alternatively, you can opt for wood that is shrinkage resistance, such as cedar, pine, or spruce.

Another way to reduce air leakage is to use specially made gaskets or caulks in between the logs. You can get these caulks in the market but may need a qualified professional to install them.

Protect your logs

Another way to optimise the energy efficiency of your log home is to prevent the logs from rotting as a result of damage from insect or moisture. When the logs of your home are affected by insect or mould causing moisture, the damaged areas become effective sieves that allow the cold air or heat to go out or come into the house, causing you to rely more on artificial temperature control.

To prevent this type of damage, you can waterproof the logs or treat them with insecticide. At the same time, make sure your house has adequate outlets for water including overhangs, gutters, and drainage that will protect your log house from water damage as long as possible.

Invest in insulated doors

Everyone knows that the doors and windows are the common culprits when it comes to heat loss. Even in log homes, the doors and windows can serve as a huge source of energy loss if you are not careful.

This is why you should consider investing in insulated doors, especially for the exterior doors. Not only will insulated doors protect your log home from heat and energy loss, but they will also do a lot for the aesthetic appearance of your outdoors, boosting the value of your curb appeal.

If you have a garage or shed attached to your log home, you should also use insulated doors for your garage. Studies by experts at A1garage.com show that the garage and the garage door also play a huge roll in heat loss in the house and that by insulating the garage and upgrading to an insulated garage door, you can reduce heat loss from this point by as much as 90%.

Be intentional about your landscaping

Landscaping is not only done to make your home and yard look nice. When done right, landscaping can play a definite role in reducing energy spending.

When you intentionally plant trees and shrubs in strategic positions around your home, it can provide much-needed shade during the hot months. Deciduous plant species, for example, can provide lots of shade in the summer, and if these plants are really close to the windows, they can effectively reduce your reliance on HVAC during this period, thus cut down on energy expenditure.

During the winter, these plants will shed their leaves so that you home can have direct access to the sun rays, providing much-needed warmth during the cold winter months.

Invest in energy star appliances

Finally, when you are moving into your new log home, it may be a better idea to move in with new appliances, especially those that meet the energy star ratings. Of course, this only works if you have the funds to do so, but it goes without saying that investing in energy star appliances will save you a lot on energy bills as these appliances tend to use only minimal electric power.

You don’t need to replace every single one of your appliances right away. You can simply start with those ones that are old, broken down, or set for replacement.

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