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Building Codes, Energy Efficiency, and Green Building - Things to think about!

There is no question, a log home is hands down, the most beautiful home to build. It's rare to find a log home that isn't absolutely gorgeous!


When building a log home, there are things - things you may not see - that are just as important. How energy efficient will it be? Is it going to be built with less waste? Is it environmentally friendly? Will it meet building codes?


These are the questions that log home owners need to have answered before starting the building process!


We love to help, and inform people on the importance - and benefit of building a green, energy efficient log home! Timber Block, the Revolutionary R-30 Insulated Log home is proud to build homes that are so highly energy efficient, heating/cooling bills are much lower, (R-30 is standard in every Timber Block home), as well, with R-30, all Timber Block homes meet or exceed all building codes in relation to insulation.


For more information, this blog talks more about Energy Efficiency in log homes, Building Codes, and Building Green!



Have a great week!

Timber Block

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Well I do appreciate you spreading the word on the "beauty" of a log home, I take exception to your link and the comparisons to a solid log wall alternative.  Your Green Home is not the only one who is "insulted".

While your system and approach to mixing insulation and wood slabs or even thin veneer is better than most, the claim that it is R-30 everywhere and 400% more insulation is misleading.  You might have R-30 at thickest point of foam, but when you average the buried structural framing, the radius and the window/door openings, it will be far less.  And considering the average wall construction makes up for only 17% of a whole house energy consumption, there are bigger fish to fry.  This includes efficiency in roofs, roof to wall connections, wall to floor details, window and door openings, vapor drive and overall air tightness standards.  Manage these details well and whatever system used will be better than any existing home on the market.

The ICC 400 2012 code addresses solid log wall construction and what is required to meet code throughout this country.  Much has been invested in the testing and detail this code offers.

Once your system passes the test of time-----let's say 200 years as some of the solid log home profiles have done-----then we can talk.  Maybe your system is designed to overcome the coefficient of expansion and contraction of differing materials and delamination will never happen?

Chris, I'll leave it to the engineers at Timber Block to explain their engineering and testing, but they've now built over 400 homes.  I'll start by saying this:  The questions you raise suggest to me that you haven't actually familiarized yourself with the Timber Block product. 

You might want to check out how they're actually designed and built.  The design yields an R-30 measurement from top to bottom of each log, which has insulation that does not vary in thickness or density at any point vertically or horizontally.  There's no "veneer."  No "buried structural framing" (unless you're referring to the lateral wood pieces that are through-bolted and which also incorporate thermal breaks that retain the R-30 measurement). And no "radius" effect that diminishes the R-value below R-30.

The experience thus far has been that the homes have turned out to be very thermally efficient and require only minimal maintenance (staining on a 4-5 year schedule).  In addition, laboratory modeling and actual accelerated wear cycles have yielded impressive results, showing that these homes will indeed stand the test of time. 

Timber Block's link above may be broken, which might be why you've reached erroneous assumptions about their product.  If you navigate to their website's description of their building technology at, you'll see that the R-value across their log walls is R-30 at every point, accounting for all the structural components that are part of the logs themselves (as I mention above wood components that are through-bolted are engineered to provide a thermal break, eliminating thermal transference through those necessary components. 

Since designs vary significantly from one home to the next, as you point out, it's not possible to predict exactly what the overall R-value of a Timber Block home will be until it's designed.  They do state very clearly, however, that the average effective R-value across all surfaces--including windows and doors--is R-27.  This impressive thermal performance is due not only to their log profile, but also due to the construction of openings, attention to potential sources of air infiltration, and the incorporation of components such as Low-E Argon windows.  Your point about all aspects of insulation and air infiltration being accounted for is quite astute, and I do believe that Timber Block has accounted for those concerns pretty effectively.  Their standard roof system is R-40, with a low-cost R-50 option.  They mandate rigorous attention to air infiltration from subfloor to roof. 

Timber Block is very up front about their building system and how a potential purchaser should make his or her comparison:

"Effective insulation (the area of the entire wall or home) in a Timber Block home is generally above R-27, depending on the design (windows bring the effective insulation level down). And every section of the wall, is R-30 from the top of the log to the bottom of the log. Don’t be afraid to ask what the R-value is from the top of the log to the bottom of the log...not just the ‘ideal’ location for the R-value reading."

I ended up building a Timber Block home after spending an extended period of time examining all of the options in the marketplace.  I'm among those who feel that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every potential buyer.  But, Timber Block's system is awfully impressive--energy efficient and structurally stout.  So much so that my builder--a guy who owns a sizable company and has the ability to construct everything from SIPs to stacked logs to ICF to whatever--proclaimed it "rock solid."

Timber Block, thanks for sharing those awesome photos.  Consider Log Home Finishing LLC for your chinking and staining needs on your Colorado mountain projects.


And the phominess continues......

I am partial to real log home...if they are going to be called log homes.

It would probably be more honest if Timberblock called their "log" a "block log", or a "foambeam".

I do know there are others like Wisconsin Log Homes that offers similar....but there are also some nice looking veneer homes out there too/  George Gibson designs some great ones, Natural Element homes, Moss Creek, Winterwoods, Ken Peiper Stone Mountain series, Hearthstone too I believe....many others that actually work with green materials etc.

"from deep within the foamrest....a block forest hybrid was born,  where synthetics of man,  meet the nature of wood, and a foambeam was born!"

Now THAT's funny.....

Well, that's good, but you may not want to give up your day job just yet, Shanny. :D

But, you've kind of hit the highlights, even if you are writing tongue-in-cheek.  Timber Block (and other companies that are raising the bar in bringing better technology to the marketplace) has figured out a way to provide customers with a log home that incorporates the beauty of logs--something that binds everyone who participates here--with energy efficiency and ease of maintenance that vastly exceeds the more antiquated technologies that many builders still use. 

I really do appreciate the craftmanship and beauty of traditional logs.  And, when I was making my purchase decision, that's where I started (didn't even know Timber Block existed at first).  When I started asking about maintenance and energy consumption, I uniformly got a shuffling of the feet, a loss of eye contact, and a boatload of prevarication (that, along with a consistent proclamation that everyone else's traditional building system was a "disaster in the making").  Timber Block was the only competitor that answered these questions straightforwardly, had reassuring answers to back up their claims (along with a lifetime warranty), and didn't bad-mouth their competitors.

I guess that's why I continue to be surprised by so many old-school builders--and we all know it's not all of them--who continue to misrepresent their competition's products and decry others who have tackled and solved the problems that they won't (or can't?) address.  My experience--albeit in different realms--has always been that it's better to try to beat the other guy with hard work, better ideas, and a better product, than to rely on bad-mouthing the competition.  My guess is that it's just laziness . . . it's easier to decry the other guy than to put the effort into improving one's own products.

As a consumer, it is good to see vigorous competition.  There's room in the market for a variety of building systems and each has certain advantages and appeals to some customers over others.  Timber Block's appeal lies in its ability to combine the virtues of logs, with energy efficiency and easily managed maintenance.  For me, it was the perfect answer!

Michael, I have no problem with competition. In fact, I encourage it. Competition keeps us all from resting on our laurels.

The problem I have with Timberblock written message is the assertion that it provides 400% better efficiency than a solid log alternative. Just not true. Your Response about it being actually R-27 with windows included is also not close. Do the math. R-30 in 60% of wall, R-5 in 25% glazing and R-10 in 25% of your framing joints (using the poster child house you market as an example), is R-21.75 average. Still impressive, but not as claimed.

The whole house comparison (including roof, floors, dormers), makes this 400% pitch even more bogus, even though in small print they try to compare to log only.

And your maintenance pitch is true with shrinkage and settling. Solid logs manage these details with little complaint. But it stops there. Your slabs of log siding require the same stain and caulking maintenance as solid logs. The difference is if you ignore maintenance on both, a solid log is easier and cheaper to fix than a delamination issue.

I'm not Saying Timberblock doesn't have a good system. In fact, I think they do offer the foam and log siding system better than most. I just take exception with their marketing department. And if they are serious about joining the BSC, they should adjust their tact.
Chris, thanks for the compliments. I still don't think you understand the system. in fact, I'm about 100% sure you don't . . . particularly if you're referring to framing joints and caulking of the logs. I'm not sure what a "framing joint" would be in the context of the building system. And, no caulking.

Really, I appreciate your insight. But, honest-to-goodness, your statements seriously indicate that you haven't really familiarized yourself with the product.
Michael, the framing I'm referring to includes the top plates, bottom plates, panel seams, corners and perimeter of window and door openings. Maybe foam only connects exterior skin to interior, but I doubt it. At least, this is my experience with SIPS construction.

The caulking we all need includes perimeter of window and door trim, especially with rounded profile and/or v-groove. Granted, your dried slabs adhered to insulation shouldn't move much at all, unless subject to weather extremes. All wood is subject to some checking and movement after it leaves the controlled environment no matter how dry, check and knot free before it left.

Okay, I think understand your point regarding framing and caulking.  But, I think you still have some fundamental misconceptions regarding the product.  In that respect, it's a little hard to respond, except to say, that with the greatest respect for your craftmanship, I think you have don't actually understand Timber Block's engineering or construction. 

While I'm not a builder, as someone who's gone through the building process with them, worked closely with the company and the construction crew, and has a fair bit of familiarity with Timber Block, I see in your posts around a half dozen statements that indicate to me that you don't have any actual familiarity with the product. 

What I can offer, again trying to keep this positive, is that no one suggests that there's a one-size-fits-all solution for all who want to own a log cabin.  I can certainly see the aesthetic virtues in your beautiful homes.  But, for me, the choice was clear--there was no other product that I found that offered the same combination of aesthetics, energy efficiency, cost, and overall quality that I was looking for in a log home as I found in Timber Block.  As a customer, from the first call through to the time I was handed the keys, Timber Block has been outstanding, delivering an incredible product that exceeded my demanding expectations in every way.  

Wishing you the best . . . .


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