Sustainable, Beautiful & Energy Efficient Large Logs Make for Unique Homes
Canadians have a long history of appreciation for building with wood; there was a time when log cabins and log homes were all that many of our ancestors knew.
There are those among us who have always appreciated the natural aesthetic of wood, but now there is a powerful reason to choose to build with logs. A handcrafted log home built with larger logs can actually prove remarkably energy efficient, better in fact than current building code dictates.
In recent years, many people who have elected to build log homes have tended to choose to build with small logs as a way of reducing cost, but changing building codes are demanding more efficient buildings. This makes larger logs uniquely well positioned to step into the gap, allowing for smart builds that result in long term savings thanks to reduced energy bills.
If a home is built with large white pine, there is in fact more insulation than is required by changing building codes. At Kealey Tackaberry Log Homes we love building with larger logs, and the fact that larger logs are more energy efficient is fantastic news.
How Does a Log Home Stack Up Against Building Code?
You’ll likely know that the higher the R-value, the greater the insulative value of your home.
The energy efficiency of a home is determined by so-called R-values (resistance to thermal flow) of building segments such as walls, floors, roof, windows, etc., and by the air tightness of the building envelope. In log homes (and other heavy structures) there is also the heat mass that influences the heat-holding ability of the structure, thus influencing heating bills. By Dalibor Houdek, Ph.D., Thermal Properties of Log Homes in Log Home News, August 2002
Ontario Building Code (2017) says that any walls in new home builds must have at least an R-22 value.
Our white pine logs (16″ diameter) are the equivalent R-26. So, how do we get here?
The R-value of white pine is R 1.3 per inch x 16″ diameter = R-21 x 25% (thermal mass) = R-26. (See Thermal Properties of Log Homes in Log Home News, August 2002.)
To better explain, the initial R-21 value above does not fully take into account the thermal mass benefits of a log wall. A log wall has the ability to store a tremendous amount of heat which has great benefit in a temperate climate like Ottawa’s. In the summer, logs absorb heat from hot days and radiate it back to the air during cooler nights; in winter, that heat is radiated back to inside spaces, creating warmth indoors.
The log home council released an Energy Performance of Log Homes document in 2010 showing that thermal mass benefits of a solid white pine log increases the R-value 25%, hence the resulting R-26 value given above.
Note: the log home described here would have an EnerGuide rating in the 80 to 85 range, although EnerGuide rates have become more complex now that they also build in consumption rates for every element present within a home, including appliances.
White Pine for Your Log Home
The white pine logs that Kealey Tackaberry tends to select are sourced from Renfrew County right here in Eastern Ontario. We deal with private wood lots known for selectively harvesting white pine.
Selective cutting is the best, most sustainable method of harvesting because it promotes natural regeneration and has minimal impact on the land. With this method, risk of erosion is mitigated against and local wildlife is protected.
Handcrafted Log Homes
Two fantastic examples of the end result of building with large logs can be seen in this example from our log home portfolio:
This Rustic Calabogie Log Home is situated on a sloping property that was perfect for a walkout basement. The massive front deck provides additional shelter while also providing a viewing platform of the lake and surrounding mountains.
This beautiful home within the City of Ottawa is a great example for a more urban environment; there is certainly no reason why you can’t build a stunning and energy-smart log home right in the city. This round-log home is a great example of rural living in the city.
White Pine Log Home Gallery
The pictures below show one of the two log shells being built in the Kealey Tackaberry yard right now:
Both are going to be full-time homes. One is a 1600 sq.ft. 2-bed, 2-bath retirement home on a lake property near Perth, Ontario. The other is a 2500 sq.ft. 3-bed, 3-bath family home to be built in Wendover, Ontario just east of Ottawa.