Logs are the only renewable major construction material. They are able to efficiently regenerate from a well managed forest. As stated by the Canadian Wood Council, “Canada is at no risk of deforestation”. “Canada’s forests account for 10% of the world’s cover & only ¼ of 1% of the Canadian forest is allowed to be harvested each year”, not to mention the hundreds of tree planting operations happening on a yearly basis.
2. Preservation of Nature
Log Homes are the only type of home that preserve nature. It is known that 90% of the wood used to construct a log house goes into a wood frame house the same size. True, the size of a log is much greater than dimensional lumber, however, the amount of waste produced by the manufacturing process accounts for nearly the same amount of wood used. The difference is: The log house preserves nature instead of hiding it. It is the log that provides the structural and finish (exposed) material, complementing nature’s real beauty and heritage & able to be enjoyed by all..
3. Low embodied energy
Definition: Embodied Energy is the hidden energy in a house required to manufacture materials resulting in pollution and supply to the point of use.
The log home has the lowest form of embodied energy in any building since material is not manufactured. Environmental impact is kept to a minimum. An example: Western Red Cedar is commonly used as an exterior finish material in eastern Canada, even though Eastern white Cedar is as readily available from Ontario to Newfoundland. White Cedar is also as naturally rot resistant and as good of an insulator. The difference: White Cedar is local, Red Cedar is transported up to 6000 km away from its source. Not too environmentally friendly is it?
4. Low flame spread rating
Simple terms: The lower the rating, the better the performance.
Building codes for flame spread rating in a residential construction wall assembly must be around 150. A 2’x6’ wall with fiberglass insulation and drywall is rated at 150 (typical conventional construction). “Logs of the softwood nature are between 75-125”. (Flame spread rating, Log Home Council). It is well known by now that in order to ignite an average size log on fire, an enormous amount of heat has to be present. Due to a logs flame spread rating, they are less of a fire hazard than typical construction. Most Insurance companies are well aware of the situation. The log home myth, “it’s difficult to insure a log house”, simply is not true.
5. Energy Efficiency
The Softwood Log is among the best natural insulators known to man. Why? Simply speaking, as wood dries, its cellular structure changes from holding water to tiny air pockets. These air pockets act as resistance to heat flow through the log. Therefore, causing wood to be an extremely poor conductor of heat & an excellent insulator. In addition logs also act as a thermal mass when heated, meaning they are able to radiate heat back to the inside or outside of the building, which ever is the warmer side of the log. What is the result? Less pressure is placed on your heating system during the winter and a cooling system in most locations is not required any time of the year.
The insulative performance of different wood species is based on the“u Factor” (rate of heat flow through a substance). Most people would be more familiar with the “r-factor” (resistance to heat transfer) which is how fiberglass insulation is rated. Standard wood – frame houses are insulated to a value of r-20. After converting a logs u-factor, it has been proven that Pine or Spruce Species are around 2.5 per inch and cedars 3.5 per inch. A typical handcrafted home of pine would have an insulative performance equivalent to r-35.
6. Air Quality
Basic air quality in any house should be of a high standard, even to people who have severe allergies. Too bad 90% of the time, this is not the case. Basically, the more manufactured materials in a home the higher the air pollution in the home mainly due to the glues and adhesives used commonly in conventional house construction. Materials include OSB, tar paper, fiberglass insulation, paints, carpets, linoleum, & varnishes to name a few. This does not mean you shouldn’t apply paint or varnish, it means if you don’t want these products to compromise air quality, they should be of an environmental and low-VOC standard. People with severe allergies who live in standard wood-frame houses usually require some form of air-purification system. Most Log home builders use minimal manufactured material, therefore low toxins and healthy indoor air quality actually exists.
Log homes were permanent shelters of our early pioneers and settlers. It is authentic, it binds us to our heritage. Some of the oldest structures in the world are constructed with logs. A properly designed log house (protection from the elements & weather-tight construction) should last a lifetime