Log home dwellers are the envy of many. Few can think of an idea more relaxing than kicking back inside of a warm log cabin on a secluded mountain somewhere. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, log cabins also provide owners assurance that living in such a home reduces their carbon footprint on Earth.
Estemerwalt Log Homes President Kurt Propst said having log and timber structures significantly reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during construction of the home itself. When trees are cut down to be used for building, they retain carbon dioxide previously absorbed from the atmosphere. Likewise, logs and timber are renewable and biodegradable.
Despite the fact the structure of a log home itself is eco-friendly, there still are a number of ways log home owners can continue to work at saving energy in a log home. Simple energy-saving tips are often preached in the media, but for good reason – such habits can result in a pocketful of savings over a period of time.
John Wilder, a certified energy auditor and former contractor and DIY freelance writer, said log home owners should first inspect all chinking – the material that is used to fill the spaces between logs – to see if any gaps exist. This issue is one of the chronic ones with true log homes. “You have to periodically reinforce the chinking as the logs continue to shrink, opening up new gaps which allows air to move in and out of the cabin,” he said. “If you don’t, it drives your energy bill way up.”
He said the gaps can often be seen, but they are more easily detected by feeing a breeze through the log wall. While chinking used to consist of mud, clay, and straw, commercial versions are now made that use concrete and resins.
Wilder also recommends putting a timer as well as an insulation blanket on hot water heaters, which saves consumers about $20 per month on their energy bill. Furthermore, using spray foam insulation in an attic can cut heating and cooling bills by as much as 50 percent.
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