THE STRUCTURAL ENVELOPE
WHY IT MATTERS
It’s the number-one culprit of wasted energy. “Focusing on sealing your building shell will get you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to saving energy and money,” says Matt.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Look beyond traditional concrete foundations and roofing systems to insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels (SIPs) since floors and ceilings typically result in the most significant energy losses in log homes. Both products have impressive R-value ratings and can be used in either full-log or half-log houses.
In an existing home, consider an energy assessment, which can reveal gaps in efficiency — literally. Inspections usually include a blower-door test and infrared thermal imaging that will zero in on problem areas and fixes, like caulking walls and weather stripping doors and windows. These simple remedies will help achieve an air-tight envelope.
TOP: Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are made from a thick core of rigid insulation sandwiched between two OSB panels. ABOVE: A true energy-audit photo shows how gaps where ceiling beams meet plaster (the blue areas) allow valuable heat to escape. Carefully sealing these areas with caulk can help. BELOW: This Colorado log cabin achieves impressive energy efficiency thanks to a quality chinking product that fills the gaps between the logs, allowing the home to easily pass its door-blower test with flying colors.