We believe a log or timber post & beam home is a responsible choice when considering environmental sustainability. We only use logs certified by the FFC (Forestry Stewardship Council) from managed timber plantations, which are a renewable resource. From an Environmental, Economic and Ethical point of view, Building Green is the right thing to do, and the use of renewable timber resources achieves this.
Log homes have provided sustainable, locally-built housing in many parts of the world. In Russia, Europe, Scandinavia, and North America, log homes have been the traditional construction for millions of people for thousands of years. Log homes work well, are affordable, and sustainable because they use local building materials, and provide employment to local craftsmen.
We use logs from New Zealand, where it requires less than 40 years to grow excellent Douglas Fir building logs. In the traditional localities of log construction, the same trees require 100 to 300 years to get to the same size. Life-cycle cost of log homes is also extremely low. A well designed and constructed log building incorporating good maintenance, can last for 60 or more years, allowing more than enough time for the forest to regenerate those logs originally harvested to create the building.
Log homes do not “waste” trees. An average ‘stick-built’ home uses about the same volume of trees to produce the same size house. A house that is 200 square metres in size would require about 67 cubic metres of logs to produce the framing timber and cladding to build it, where as a log house of the same size would require less than 65 cubic metres of logs. This difference can be attributed to the inefficiency of even modern sawmilling. In terms of volume produced, there is more “waste” produced at a sawmill than “timber” produced at a sawmill.
Log homes have very low embodied energy. The logs are minimally processed (the bark removed, and some wood for joinery) and the trees come from local plantations. On average, processing each log requires about 2 litres of petrol in the chainsaw and the yard equipment (loader and crane). There are often less than 60 logs in each home. Log homes are air-dried. Conventional timber-framed homes have significantly higher embodied energy in part because of kiln drying and machine surfacing and sizing – approximately 4700 Megajoule per cubic metre.
The walls of log homes are composed of natural materials. Logs do not off-gas formaldehyde or the other volatile organics that are found in other processed timber sheeting and in wall claddings like plaster board. Log homes do not require as much synthetic materials to construct, thus reducing the industrial footprint of pollution, energy consumption and waste.
Because of their tightly fitting joinery, and large log diameters, log homes are energy efficient to live in and operate. The high thermal mass and insulating properties of solid log walls helps reduce the amount of energy need for heating and cooling, thereby reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
When judged by life-cycle cost, embodied energy, and operating energy (annual costs), Handcrafted Log homes provide significant and meaningful environmentally friendly alternative housing.