Various Opinions on Log Homes

You’re looking for a unique home, one that isn’t a cookie cutter replica of every other home. Much has been written about log homes and perhaps you are wondering if one might be the answer to your desire for a “something different” kind of home.

In your quest to learn about this type of dwelling, you’ll find a number of differing opinions. It is sometimes challenging to separate myths from opinions or determine if one bad experience represents log home living all around.

Keep in mind that log homes are in one respect no different from other types of homes. They are only as good as the materials used, the quality of construction, and maintenance that sustains them post-construction.

What’s Old is New

These types of homes are hardly a new form of housing. They have sheltered humans for hundreds of years. And they keep gaining popularity in today’s housing market. Check out local newsstands and see how many log home consumer magazines are in the racks.

Myths/Opinions

Rarely is there a universal experience or opinion for anything, including homes made of logs. Some people have lived in them and swear they never will do so again; others wouldn’t live in any type of home. Consider some of these more common myths/opinions:

• Energy Efficiency: you may have read that these homes aren’t energy efficient. This may be true – depending. A well-designed log home, built to modern standards by knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen, can be as (or more) energy-efficient than a well-insulated frame house.

• Upkeep: according to opinion, this type of home either requires or does not require extensive upkeep. No home is completely maintenance-free. It is unrealistic to build such a home, let it weather with time, and expect that it requires not upkeep. Every log home needs periodic cleaning, preserving, and coating to protect the structure against moisture, weather, fungi, and insects.

• Settling and Rotting: all houses – no matter what type of construction – settle because land is constantly shifting and settling. Home designers have developed techniques to address this settling issue. Be sure to ask each manufacturer about settling systems when you are considering these homes.

• Fire Hazards: These homes may withstand the devastation of fire more readily because of their thicker walls. The current exterior wall code mandates that materials used must have a minimum of “one hour-rated fire-resistive construction on the exterior side. The typical 6-inch (or greater) log walls have a considerably longer fire resistant level than one hour because logs don’t easily burn; they will smolder for a long time before they actually ignite. Consider that 26 forest firefighters who survived the Topanga Canyon firestorm of 1998 by seeking shelter in a log home!

• Cost/Financing: rumors seem to persist that these homes are costly to finance and insure. Neither of these claims seems to have much credibility these days. Such claims may have been more likely when log homes were less common but should not be stumbling blocks today.

If you have never lived or vacationed in such type of home or cabin, consider giving it a try before you plunge into buying one. Some owners discovered they quickly tired of “so much wood” inside and out. Others found the experience unsatisfactory because they purchased a log home that had not been well designed, constructed, or maintained.

You can find both positive and negative opinions on almost anything when searching the Internet. Take time to research their design and manufacture companies that interest you and (if possible) view some of their existing homes before you make your decision.

Things to Consider While Hiring a Green Builder

As an environmentally conscious person are you passionate about implementing green building design for your next project? Then you need to look for a reputed and experienced green builder who’s equally passionate and motivated in coming up with energy efficiency designs. Consider the following points while hiring one:

1. Whether it’s a commercial or residential project, you can hire a well committed architect who relies on the latest technology and is capable of coming up with customized solutions for any project category.

2. The green architect you choose to work with should be able to come up with practical net zero design for your project. He/she must be able to communicate every aspect of construction with clarity and care. You need to hire an individual who can reason well and think independently to give you the desired end result.

3. It’s better to talk with the references they provide to really understand and see for yourself how well the builder executes green building solutions on large or small scale projects.

4. More importantly, the builder must be capable in carefully monitoring the budget and communicate at regular intervals about the project status.

5. It’s good to choose an architect who’s certified by LEED program as their designs and practices are well approved and recognized by the Green Building Council.

A green building approach can turn out to be not just Eco-friendly, but also helps in conserving and producing energy while saving you considerable money on your monthly power bills. On the other hand, a green building will decrease waste production and cut down on pollution. In short, the design will be environmentally efficient and responsible all through the building’s life-cycle. So the right green architect should be able to help you right from siting the right place to designing and construction or renovation of the project. You can choose a company that specializes in offering green building design that smartly addresses any energy consumption issues. A well experienced firm will provide you with a wide range of options to help you in assessing all the available possibilities and choose the best for energy conservation for your industrial or residential projects. They will help you with designing a building that makes effective use of water, energy and various other important resources, while protecting the health of people who live within its premises. The sustainable building design principles can be effectively applied for new construction projects as well as renovation work, so its time you considered it by choosing the right people.

4 Easy Tips To Go Green And Thus Attract More Tenants

Going green is the trend these days, and it’s because more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious. As a landlord, you should be able to identify this trend and use it to your advantage to make your house look more attractive to the tenants. There are several ways in which you can make your house green. Here are 4 easy environment-friendly tips on attracting more tenants:

1. Introduce Green Replacements

If you are about to renovate your house before putting it back on the rental market, or even before doing something as small as fixing a broken bulb, consider getting green replacements. This is generally better if your tenants are already living in the house, as it reduces the downtime.

Check if the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer have Energy Star ratings. Replace older shower heads with low-flow models. Other small things that you can pay attention to include light bulbs, carpets, window coverings, and paints.

2. Use Solar Energy

It has been found that heating water using electricity is a major contributor to power consumption and electricity bills. While solar panels have been making a leeway into apartment complexes, you should make it a priority even if it’s an individual house. Solar heat pumps are available on the market, and the government has been supporting the idea with subsidies. The future will see better storage technologies for solar power, and your house will appear smart to the tenants with this choice. And hey, it would reduce the bills too!

3. Insulate Your House

Insulating your home is a direct step towards encouraging sustainability. You can trap cold air in the summers and warm air in the winters. This reduces the annual costs involved in using air conditioners and heat radiators. There are ample cheap, recycled insulators in the market that are made of wool and polyester. You should definitely consider getting them.

4. Get Compost And Recycle Bins

You can get your tenants some inexpensive recycle bins. It would be great if you can get compost bins too, as these will promote waste reduction and proper recycling of food waste. You can even buy some fruit gardens to use the compost. Tenants will really appreciate this.

These days, more and more house hunters are looking to live in environmentally friendly areas. Follow these simple steps to not only ensure that you attract green-savvy tenants, but also help the house live long.

Designing a Greenhouse As a Tropical Oasis

Living in the cold, wet northern hemisphere is not for everyone, and even those who enjoy the chilly temperatures and snowfall need to take a break in a warmer climate from time to time. Taking a vacation, however, especially for those with large families and individuals who work full time, isn’t always an option. Travelling expenses, along with planning a week’s worth of activities, and trying to accommodate everyone can sometimes be more of a headache than a vacation. A vacation-like ambiance can be made right at home, and doing so is a breeze with the help of a greenhouse and an expert team of designers.

Greenhouses are made almost entirely of glass windows and skylights, which allows the sun to warm the interior, making a tropical climate for both humans and plants. Overheating and sunburn will not be an issue, as long as proper glazing options are considered. Incorporating low emission glass coatings, such as LoE 366, will produce a highly efficient glass structure that will block harmful rays in the summer and insulate during the winter. Ventilation will be crucial to ensure air circulates and does not become stagnant. Ridge vents, eave vents, and operable windows are great ventilation options for both humans and plants. Incorporating a retractable roof skylight will open the structure to the outside on warm, sunny days.

Growing palm trees inside the greenhouse is an ideal way to create a vacation atmosphere, as are hibiscus, and practically any vibrant tropical flower. Before cultivation begins, however, it is important to research the various preferences of each plant in order to ensure the greenhouse growing environment is mutually beneficial for each different species. Once the vegetation has been selected, creating the perfect interior environment will be easy with the help of a greenhouse control system, which integrates all lighting, heating, cooling, and irrigation accessories into one cohesive unit.

Adding a full-sized pool, spa, or other water features will elevate the tropical greenhouse oasis and help produce the total vacation package. Incorporating a water feature inside a greenhouse or other glass structure, though, will most likely increase interior humidity and condensation, especially in a high-performing structure. Condensation has the ability to promote fungal growth in the atmosphere, which can negatively affect both people and plants. Ensuring proper structural ventilation with ridge vents, eave vents, operable windows, and skylights will help minimize and monitor condensation levels and create a comfortable experience for all users.

Greenhouses, whether designed as a freestanding structure or attached to an existing building, are the perfect way to create a tropical vacation spot right at home. Doing this will allow users a relaxing getaway at any time of year and also reduce yearly vacation costs in the long run.

5 Simple Energy Conservation Ideas For Your Home

While most potential home buyers, consider their monthly mortgage payment (including principal, interest, and escrow/ taxes), many, fail to adequately consider other monthly expenses, associated with home ownership. Perhaps the most significant one, is the cost of energy – related activities, including electric, and heart. The purpose of this article is not to examine the many alternative heating alternatives, including solar, geo – thermal, etc, but rather, to review some simple steps, one can somewhat easily take, to make their home more energy – efficient, and friendly. Let’s look at 5 simple, basic, energy conservation ideas/ steps.

1. Windows and doors: What is the Energy Efficiency Ratio of your entry doors? What material are they made of? How are they hung? How much air is seeping out, through the spaces created, because of their alignment? Simply, assuring your door has a bottom sweep, and the spaces around the top, and sides, is reduced/ eliminated, will prevent heat escaping in the winter, and air conditioning, escaping during the summer. What type of blinds, or curtains are you using, and are you using them, to let sun in, when it is cold out, while reducing the entry of the heat of the sun, when it is hot? When was the last time you checked your windows, in terms of air – tightness, energy rating, and tinting (if your local climate indicates doing so)?

2. Insulation: Every form of insulation comes with some R rating. This number indicates the amount of insulation, but are you certain, all exterior walls and ceilings are properly insulated? Doing so, might potentially save a considerable amount of unnecessary energy costs.

3. Energy efficient appliances: Certain home appliances, especially refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, have become far more energy – efficient, in recent years. How old are yours? Look at the rating, and it will indicate how much energy a particular appliance might be using. When I recently replaced my refrigerator, the new one was far more efficient (therefore, cost less to run), than my 15 – year old model. Similarly, today’s oil and gas burners and boilers are far more efficient, than they have ever been!

4. Water and toilet: Are there any dripping faucets or toilets that continue to run – on? Eliminate the drips, change faucet heads (especially in the shower), and check the efficiency of your toilets.

5. Lights/ fixtures: Begin by making the effort to turn lights off, when you leave the room! What type of light bulb are you using? Many bulbs today are four, or more times, more efficient (use less energy/ wattage), than older ones. Do a lights and fixtures – review on a regular basis!

These 5 ideas may seem basic and obvious, but you’d be amazed how few people consider these. Unless you like wasting energy, and spending more than you need to, using these simple, conservation methods, will save money, and reduce energy waste.