How are log homes more efficient than conventional homes?
We’re asked this question all the time. Let’s start by talking about what R-value is, and why it doesn’t relate to log homes.
What is the R-value of a log wall?
R-value measures capacity of an insulation material to resist heat flow from one side of a wall to another.
The insulation industry has done a really good job at presenting and supporting the importance of R-value, but this is only one part of energy efficiency. Solid log walls react to heat differently than conventional framed walls as energy efficiency is derived by thermal mass.
What is thermal mass?
Thermal Mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store energy. In the case of a log wall, the stored energy is radiated back into the room when the interior temperature falls. The thicker the log wall, the greater your thermal mass and the more energy efficient your home will be.
Consider a sauna. In this example the heat source isn’t warming the air and escaping through the walls. The heat source is warming the stone, which in turn warms the room. The wooden walls absorb and radiate that heat back into the sauna. Now picture a Norwegian stove in the living room of a log home, the same rings true. Even after the fire has burned down, the stone and log walls continue to radiate heat into the room.
In warmer weather the thermal mass of the logs keeps your home cool. When the hot summer sun is beating down on the exterior of the wall it doesn’t transfer heat to the interior of the wall. As a result, log buildings are very energy efficient in both hot and cold weather.
The big question is, what is the R-value of a log?
This is irrelevant because efficiency of a log wall isn’t really measured in R-value. If you ask an insulation company, R-value of wood is between R-1 and R-2 per inch.
With a True North log home, our patented technology makes our 6” width by 12” height log exceed energy codes in comparison to a conventionally framed home which requires R-24 insulation to meet the same code in Ontario.
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