Log homes are naturally energy efficient because wood has good thermal mass properties. Wood can absorb and store heat efficiently from the sun which is helpful in colder climates. At night, as the temperature drops, the stored heat is slowly released into rooms. This action helps maintain a stable indoor temperature.

There is much more we can do to save energy in our log homes year-round. Some are obvious, while others are more subtle and often overlooked. Let’s take a look at some ideas and designs that will help maintain a comfortable log home and save money in the process.

Install Super-Quality Insulation In Log Homes

Not all insulation is the same, and more effective types are found on today’s market. Instead of sticking with old-style insulation, consider more efficient types for your climate. Think about:

  • Consulting an insulation expert and trusted contractor in your area
  • Insulating all 7 areas including ceilings, 4 walls, floors, and foundations
  • Neglecting 1 of the above areas reduces the effectiveness of the others
  • Make sure the R-value is high enough for your climate

Some of the new and better types of home insulation not only save money on energy usage but are also virtually fireproof. Of all the common types available, spray foam wins out. Use it in the attic, walls, and crawl space.

Install The Most Efficient Windows And Doors

Windows are windows, right? There is a major difference in window efficiency, and if you live in an extreme climate, you know it. First, consider them followed by doors.

Windows – The most energy-efficient windows are triple-pane windows because they offer better insulation value. Triple-pane windows consist of three layers of gas with two spaces filled in with insulating gas. This design keeps more hot air out in the summer and in during the winter. They are ideal for cities and states in extreme climates.

Exterior Doors – R-values of R-2 and R-3 are found in solid wood doors. Values of R-5, R-6, and R-7 are built into insulated steel or fiberglass doors. Some European manufacturers certify their doors to have values up to R-11.

“There is much more we can do to save energy in our log homes year-round.”

Incorporate A Passive Or Active Solar Design

Here’s another idea that works for any type of home. Use solar energy to create a passive or active design to save energy and reduce your energy bills.     

Passive Designs use sunlight to heat and ventilate without the need for electrical or mechanical devices. The sun’s rays create heat through window and door glass and in logs that is stored in brick, stone, or other material. The heat is released at night to provide some warmth. More heat is generated with more or larger windows.

Active Designs use the sun to heat a liquid, air, or solar panels, and transfer their heat to interior spaces or storage systems for later use. A backup system may be needed to provide enough energy during extended cloudy days.

Consider Appliances, Lighting, Smart Homes, And Utilities

Investing in new appliances, lighting, and smart technology not only saves on utility bills, it also prevents more breakdown expenses in the next few years. Did you know that appliances and lighting account for more than 20% of your electric bills?

There are several things you can do to tame the utility bills in your log home. You don’t need to do them all at once; just one at a time will help tremendously. Whether you already live in a log home or plan to build a new one, consider these:

  • Purchase new EnergyStar® appliances as you need them, such as clothes washers, dishwashers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators. They use much less energy than regular appliances made 10-15 years ago.
  • Replace an old HVAC system with a new energy-efficient one to better control heating, cooling, and humidity levels. This adds up for homeowners in extreme climates – up to 20% or more in energy bills.
  • Replace your old water heater with an energy-efficient one no larger than you need. Tankless water heaters can save up to 40% on energy costs.
  • Smart Homes include installing programmable thermostats, LED lights, attic vents, and remotely controlled lighting, heating, and air conditioning.

Build With Thick Wood Log Siding

All these energy-saving designs are so much easier to incorporate into a log siding home than a full log home. You get the full log look and energy effectiveness without the full log price. Of the three favorite siding profiles, Premier-D is the thickest and widest for more energy savings.

Wood log siding is installed on both the outer and inner walls with screws. Insulation is installed between the traditional 2×4 wall framing and its effectiveness can be increased by using 2×6 wall framing to save even more energy. Add corner and trim logs and caulk them where needed and you have a well-insulated home.

Take the time to incorporate all the energy-saving ideas that are feasible and you won’t be sorry. Saving energy costs will be even more important when the utility rates go up.

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