Friday, June 5, 2009

GREEN LIVING: Are Log Homes Energy Efficient?

A log home.Image via Wikipedia

Energy Efficiency of a Log Home by Sue Lemmon

The log home is a special form of building which has been utilized for centuries. But with all the new technology, insulation, greener building practices, etc, where do log homes stand? Many times, as builders, we are asked this question. So here is what my research revealed.

Many studies have been conducted which compared log homes to standard construction homes. Of course a standard wall has lots of insulation in it. But what about a log? What properties can it offer to insulate our homes from the outside elements?

A log has what is referred to as thermal mass. Thermal mass is the ability of a log to absorb heat or cold and then slowly release it. The log is made with a special cell structure. This cellular structure naturally wants to perform this. Just as a rock is warm after the sun goes down, so our log homes retain that warmth.

A study on this subject conducted in Michigan USA, was very insightful. One home was constructed from logs and the other was based on a standard construction method for this test. It was found that when the temperature outside reached a minimum of 25 degrees Fahrenheit, the log home needed 6 kilowatts of electricity to maintain a constant 72 degrees F inside the home over a 24 hour time frame. The standard construction home, on the other hand, needed 8.1 kilowatts to maintain the same temperature for the same period of time. This resulted in a 25% energy savings over just 24 hours. That is outstanding.

Another study done by the Log Home Council found that a typical log home can be up to 15-18% more energy efficient than a conventional framed home. Log homes and log cabins are capable of excellent energy efficiency, but they must be constructed with high quality craftsmanship. Many log homes tend to have draft problems. That is usually because the logs have shrunk and someone needs to go back and fill in the gaps.

With a log home, this is very true - you either pay now or you pay later. If the home is fairly inexpensive to put together, you will pay for it later in the quantity of log home caulking you will end up buying.

One company that I can say has the very snuggest fit, precision cuts, and finger joinery on the butt joints to keep the weather outside and your heat inside, is Lake Country Log Homes from British Columbia. As builders we have built homes from a log parade of companies, but we chose to represent Lake Country. Their quality coupled with their price is unmatchable.

For more information on their homes, feel free to visit us at Or visit the mill at As representatives, it is our job to answer your questions about the homes and lay out floor plans for customers, but the site has outstanding photos. If you drop a note to them on Lake Country's site, mention that you read an article by Sue Lemmon. They truly are log home crafters, not just another mill.

Thanks for reading,
Sue Lemmon Cowboy
Log Builders LLC
Building Log Dreams since 1997

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1 comment:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.