Log Home FAQ

“How Energy Efficient are Log Homes?”

Log Homes are the Original Energy Saving-House

Comfortable, energy efficient and healthier for your wallet, today’s log homes are becoming more and more popular by environmentally conscious consumers.

First, let get some facts out in the open – an energy efficient house, means any home that uses less energy to provide the same level of comfort while saving energy (and money) on it’s heating and cooling.

It has been proven that log homes (that use solid wood logs for wall structure and insulation) are more energy efficiently compared to an identical wood-framed home.

A National Bureau of Standards test in the 1980’s confirmed the energy conserving benefits of the “thermal mass effect” of log walls in residential construction.

The year-long test conducted just outside of Washington DC, showed that log homes used 2.5% to 46% less energy than a conventionally built and insulated wood framed homes.

The R-Value of Wood

According to the Dept of Energy ” The R-value for wood ranges between 1.41 per inch (2.54 cm) for most softwoods and 0.71 for most hardwoods. Ignoring the benefits of the thermal mass, a 6-inch (15.24 cm) softwood log wall has a clear-wall (a wall without windows or doors) R-value of just over 8.

Compared to a conventional wood stud wall (3½ inches (8.89 cm) of insulation, sheathing, and wallboard, for a total of about R-14) the log wall is apparently a far inferior insulation system. Based only on this, log walls do not satisfy most building code energy standards.

However, to what extent a log building interacts with its surroundings depends greatly on the climate. Because of the log’s heat storage capability, its large mass may result in better overall energy efficiency in some climates than in others.”

What is the thermal mass effect?

Thermal mass in plain terms is the ability of building materials to absorb heat.  Logs act like “thermal batteries” and can, under the right circumstances, store heat during the day and gradually release it at night.

This is why log homes are so comfortable year-round and are a great resource long term energy savings.

However log homes do require care in their design, construction, and maintenance in order to achieve and maintain maximum energy efficiency. Which is why you should always work with an experienced professional log home contractor.

Interested? Then we invite you to contact us for a free, no hassle, log home consultation.