Nothing represents the rustic, rural charm of the Great Smoky Mountains like a log cabin home. Whether you’re renting one for a cozy getaway vacation or actually call one home year-round, no one can deny the pleasures of a mountainside log cabin. These old-fashioned structures may hark back to a bygone age, but does that mean that they are just that: old-fashioned, bygone relics? In today’s world, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness are on everyone’s minds. Whether you are concerned for the well-being of the planet, concerned for the well-being of your bank account, or perhaps concerned for both, no one wants to live in a non-energy efficient home. Drafty and poorly-insulated homes can send heating and cooling bills skyrocketing, and can make personal comfort a challenge and a hassle: issues no one wants in the place they call home. So are log cabin homes- that quintessentially American residence- an inefficient, drafty nightmare? One can’t be blamed for automatically assuming that these old-fashioned structures would fall prey to these pitfalls, but the answer might actually surprise you. As it turns out, log cabin homes are actually more energy-efficient than many of today’s most modern homes. Some of the reasons include:
The heat-retention of wood: A tightly-built log home can hold in heat far better than a flimsy stud home. High-quality wood, such as Western red cedar logs, make for great, natural insulation.
The “thermal battery” effect: Under the right circumstances, logs can store heat during the day and gradually release it at night. This is particularly helpful in places that have sunny climates and significant temperature swings from day to night.
Log walls are tight insulators: Doubters of log cabin homes probably imagine a rickety shack, made from logs stacked on top of each other with large gaps in between, creating terrible drafts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If constructed properly, log wall systems are more effective air barriers than the polyethylene sheeting found in conventional housing. It would take a concrete wall five feet thick to equal the insulating quality of just 4 inches of wood.
Log homes are more eco-friendly: It’s such a basic fact that it is easy to forget, but log homes are made of, well, logs. Log homes are constructed from natural and renewable materials that are inherently more environmentally efficient and eco-friendly than many modern homes. It’s sturdy, too: a wooden block just one-inch square and 2-1/4 inches long can support 10,000 pounds. Pound for pound, wood is stronger than steel.
If you had any doubts as to the energy efficiency, environmental impact, and practicality of a log home, you have no need to worry. A well-constructed log home is equal to, if not even more efficient than any traditional house on the market today. Old-fashioned beauty and comfort AND modern energy efficiency? What’s not to love?