The amount of energy required to heat or cool a home is determined by a number of factors, and the materials and quality of construction can really affect how efficiently a log home stores, radiates, or blocks heat and cold. Log homes, when they are constructed properly, can do a lot to help you keep the energy bills a little lower. A common measure of a structure’s energy efficiency is the R-value of the material. This is the rating of its resistance to heat flow, and, in the case of a log home, it can be different depending on the type of wood that is used. In many cases, you may see that the R-value of a log home is actually lower than most homes with the regular stud walls, but that is because the R-value rating doesn’t take into account a log’s ability to act like a “thermal battery.” In the right situations, a log cabin store heat during the day and release it into the home throughout the night. Whole logs are filled with millions of tiny air pockets that act as natural insulation and make this thermal exchange possible. However, logs also have some other characteristics that must be addressed.
Ensuring Energy Efficiency The materials used in log home kits undergo a lengthy procedure to dry them out before they can be used in construction. However, as they dry out further over the years, contraction and expansion can happen, which may cause some air leaks. This is a concern that has dissuaded some people from buying a log home, and they will question the energy efficiency of these structures. When logs are seasoned in a controlled environment, though, we can minimize this effect. By using the right wood and kiln drying the logs to remove as much moisture as possible, we can reduce the level of shrinking or settlings that could lead to issues with air leakage. When you use high quality building materials that have gone through the proper drying period, you can maintain a good level of energy efficiency.
Other Important Factors The building materials are just one component of an energy efficient home. If you really want to reduce your energy consumption you must also consider the type and placement of the windows, the orientation of the home, the size of the logs, the local climate, and the air tightness of the structure. You should also check your heating and AC systems to make sure they are performing within acceptable parameters. When all of these elements are working together you will be able to start lowering your energy usage, which is great for the environment and even better for your budget.