What is green (sustainable) building?
Although the “green initiative” has been talked about for decades, green building is a relatively new approach to building more eco-friendly homes and commercial buildings. Due to the awareness being created about global warming, climate changes and sustainable building solutions, the world is now embracing these green ideas. Green is a color whose time has come!
Our homes are more than just a place to provide shelter from the weather; this is where we live, play, eat, entertain, sleep and raise our families. Creating an ecologically friendly environment isn’t just good for the planet, it also provides enormous health, economic, social and esthetic benefits. It simply makes good sense, and building with logs, a sustainable resource, makes really good sense.
Building on the green agenda
LEED Platinum certified
PrecisionCraft was one of the first companies in our industry to embrace the concept of building green. This example of a ‘sustainable log home retreat‘ combines a rustic ski cabin with modern building technology; this 3,600 square foot winter retreat is a pioneer in modern sustainable living and was the first of its kind to become LEED Platinum certified.
Planning to be green
Building green actually starts with the design phase of your eco-friendly home. As an example, positioning your home so that it makes the best use of the sun, window size and placement, ceiling heights, heating options, landscaping, lighting and your choice of stains and finishes all contribute to how green your home can be.
Logs vs. studs
Using logs rather than commercial lumber reduces the amount of time, processing, and handling that is necessary with most stick built and conventional houses. Only the timber that is prime for building a home is harvested so there’s no waste of unwanted younger trees being unnecessarily cut. This not only keeps cost down, but it also decreases transportation expenses for fuel and processing at a minimum. There’s less expense all the way around.
The use of wood is by itself a renewable resource. As trees are harvested, replacements are planted. In addition, most major log home manufacturers are heavily involved in reforestation programs that replace more trees than are harvested. Not only are the trees renewable, all parts of the tree are used beneficially with minimal waste. Bark is recycled for landscaping, bedding, and mulch. The trunks are kept primarily for the walls for homes and the smaller trunks and branches are valued for their furniture making abilities.
Surface as Finish
Log homes offer what is known as “surface as finish“. What this means is that the interior walls themselves don’t require additional finishing materials. This in turn cuts down on chemicals or materials that use chemicals in their processing, and because less interior finishing needs to be done, you save money.
Log homes also require fewer metal fasteners to erect the building which means less cost. Because the solid construction of a log home isn’t dependant on it’s fasteners but rather the gravitational weight of the logs themselves as the home continues to “settle”, the energy efficiency of it increases, not decreases as more traditional houses.
The words ‘green‘ and ‘log‘ are not usually found in the same sentence in log home construction. Green logs are taboo when you are discussing materials to be used in building a structure.
Better thermal properties
Many studies have been done concerning the thermal properties of a log home versus a traditional stick-built house. The evidence shows on average,log homes perform 17% better in holding heat than other types of houses, and in some cases this is even greater. The climate, location and design of the home itself, and the windows and doors are all factors that help in the assessment. A major difference was determined to be the thickness and solid makeup of the logs.
A Green Future
In the future, if it is decided to replace the house, the environmental benefits of log homes carries forth… Rather than demolish the home, it can often be de-constructed. The timbers are extremely valuable and can be recycled for hundreds of other uses as demand for them is always high. At that time, those same logs may become someone’s kitchen cabinets, a dinette set, bedroom set, picture frame, wall paneling, ceiling beams, baby blocks, a desk, or one of a thousand other items all made from the wonderful logs that housed a family for many years.
There are so many possibilities with logs homes and the choices are endless. They can be designed to be as individual as you are and their eco-friendly footprint rests lightly on our fragile planet. Everyone needs a house, but a log or timber frame home will serve your family and our environment best.
What color are your political beliefs?
You don’t have to be a ‘left-wing-wacko’ to be a proponent of green building and eco-friendly design and construction practices. It doesn’t matter if you believe Al Gore or think he’s an opportunistic hack. Doing the right thing for our planet will save energy, natural resources and money. Additionally, the environmental impact of green building is habitually underestimated, while the costs of building green are typically overvalued. Effectively employing green building practices can lead to:
- Decreased operating costs and increased productivity by using less energy, materials and water
- Healthier conditions due to better indoor air quality. “Recent studies reveal that buildings with good overall environmental quality can reduce the rate of respiratory disease, allergy, asthma, sick building symptoms, and enhance worker performance. The potential financial benefits of improving indoor environments exceed costs by a factor of 8 and 14.” See more…
- Reduced environmental impacts by doing simple things like lessening storm water runoff and the heat island effect.
Green building supporters usually strive to achieve harmony between the structure and its natural surroundings. With log homes, the appearance and style of the building is not discernible from less sustainable homes.
Did you know that bamboo flooring is an official “green product” and is recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program? Bamboo is harvested without killing the plant and re-grows very quickly. It is available in edge grain or flat grained, is light in color and can be stained. Talk to suppliers to learn more.
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Even more green…
To delve deeper into this area of green building and eco-friendly structures, we suggest you visit the following websites.
- Green Building.com
- Green Building Council
- U.S. EPA Green Buildings Program
- Loghomeology – Green Building info
- Environmental News Network
Go Green – Save Money – Save the Planet