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Ryan Tollefsen is the founder and team leader of Unity Home Group. Ryan specializes in negotiating offers, marketing, managing the team, setting goals and achieving them. Ryan is interested in the log home industry and is contributing an article for our blog as a guest writer.
Log homes are the right choice for individuals who appreciate their aesthetic value, enjoy the benefits of living closer to nature, or want to live off the grid. Owners can make their home greener or construct a more energy-efficient log home with the following tips.
Understand Passive Solar Home Design:
- Passive solar home design takes into account the materials to be used for construction, the climate of a site, natural wind breaks and other features of a property to reduce a homeowner’s long-term energy bills. Solar features can be added to new or existing homes. However, those looking to add solar features should first have a home energy audit performed to determine the best strategy for cost-effective energy efficiency. It's not the simplest outdoor addition to make, but, to many, it is worth every dollar spent. Properly oriented windows, the thermal mass of a home, distribution mechanisms and control strategies are all aspects to consider when building or modifying an existing
- Orienting a home properly on a site prior to construction can help homeowners take advantage of natural light and solar gain and save on energy costs. Preserving evergreens on the western or northern sides of a home and keeping deciduous trees on the eastern and southern sides can provide a natural barrier to wind and the cold, and add additional shade during hotter months. Natural elements of a site can do much to help a log home owner reduce their need to cool or heat a home.
- Wood with a higher R-value offers better insulation properties to the log home owner. Quality insulation in solid wood walls keep residents warm during cool weather and cool when it gets hot. The National Association of Home Builder’s Log and Timber Homes Council provides details on the R-value for softwoods and hardwoods. The use of solid logs also allows for improved retention of heat and less need for indoor heating as temperatures cool in mild climates.
- Having one or more air leaks can force homeowners to spend more money on heating or cooling a home. To reduce heating costs, log home owners can apply caulking around doors or windows, choose new energy-efficient windows, close any unused fireplace dampers and arrange for a professional to seal fireplace chimney leaks. The National Fenestration Rating Council provides details on the performance of windows and other products
- In addition to windows with an appropriate NFRC rating, the EPA recommends home sealing to help homeowners improve their home’s energy efficiency.
- When a log home is constructed, the logs used will continue to dry and shrink over the following years. Such changes opens gaps and creates the possibility for additional air leaks. This is where insulation comes in. Adding more insulation and air sealing a home may save the average homeowner up to 15 percent on their heating and cooling cost, according to The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Check for air leaks and how an upgraded roof may serve to reduce energy costs. Roofing insulation is an affordable and green way for homeowner’s to improve the energy efficiency of their log cabin.