With more and more people seeking to reduce their personal impact on the planet and an ever increasing awareness of the climate emergency, log homes are an excellent choice for those looking for a building method that embraces and embodies sustainability, responsible
production and energy efficiency in use. Couple that with timber from responsibly maintained forests, sensitive felling methods and minimal road miles, a log cabin home can tick all the right boxes when it comes to sustainability.
Where our wood comes from
All of our timber comes from the UK and is sourced from a number of responsibly maintained forests that form a belt running the length of the west coast of the country from Devon in the south, past the Welsh borders, through the Lake District and into Scotland. Our home in mid-Wales is perfectly placed to ensure our logs cover only the shortest road distance before arriving in the hands of our team. Additionally, we insist that all our trees are hand-felled. This is a more sensitive approach to forestry than industrial-scale mechanised felling and ensures our logs arrive without the scratches and scars caused by heavy machinery that would be visible in the end product. All of our timber is either Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified meaning the highest standards of responsibility in production.
What timber do we use for log building?
The two main species of wood our log builders use are Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and are preferred for a number of reasons. The first and perhaps most important is their sheer size, with Douglas Fir growing up to 55m in height and Red Cedar reaching up to a massive 65m. These logs span great distances allowing for some truly breathtaking log home designs as well as giving us maximum timber per tree felled. With height comes mass, and these hardwoods are both incredibly strong and act as natural insulators, helping to regulate the internal temperature of the finished building. The relatively low water content of these two species mean minimal shrinkage as the wood dries out allowing us to create seamless joints which further enhance the thermal performance of the log home. And last but not least of course, both are beautiful timbers that are great to work with and their attractive grains and tactile textures make for a handsome end product. Naturally occurring oils within the wood give the timber an inherent resistance to decay. Left untreated, both of these woods turn a beautiful silver-grey colour.
What is sustainable forestry?
As the saying goes ‘The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit’ and that is the essence of sustainable or responsible forestry - ensuring woodlands are there for generations to come. For every tree that is felled for us at least one new tree, often more, is planted in its place in a forest that is carefully managed to ensure the woodland thrives as a place for wildlife whilst still producing timber for construction. Wherever possible, natural regeneration is encouraged and maintained to ensure a healthy forest that is free of damage and disease - an increasing challenge as climate change brings new pests to our woodlands. In forests where natural regrowth is insufficient, nursery-raised saplings are planted which ensures the forest regrows quickly and with a suitable diversity of species. This balance of felling and replanting is a carefully controlled process that ensures both timber for construction and a sustainable, diverse habitat for wildlife to live and people to enjoy.
Are log homes good for the environment?
A staggering 39% of all global carbon emissions come from the modern construction industry, with materials such as concrete requiring massive amounts of energy to produce, often leaving an indelible footprint on the planet in their wake. By contrast, for every cubic metre of wood that grows, roughly one tonne of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted into wood for life and growth by the tree. The massive Douglas Fir and Red Cedars we use have an average diameter of 450mm, locking in tonnes of carbon dioxide as they grow. Production and processing of timber is a highly energy efficient process meaning a significantly lower carbon footprint than construction of steel and concrete. Additionally, every part of the tree can be used with smaller branches used for fencing to make furniture, or chipped to fuel wood-chip boilers, while the bark finds its way to gardens (as mulch) and children’s playgrounds - nothing is wasted when it comes to timber production. Furthermore, managed woodlands are actually good for the environment by ensuring forests are healthy and productive, locking away carbon dioxide and guaranteeing biodiversity in both flora and fauna.
A responsibly sourced and built log home therefore has a significantly lower impact on the environment as we work hand-in-hand with those who maintain the forests. A well-maintained log home can last for centuries and at the very end of its life the timber can be reused in a multitude of ways or of course simply allowed to break down naturally.
Are log homes energy efficient?
All of our log buildings fully comply with all UK building regulations so our log homes never fall below the required energy efficiency levels. Wood is a natural insulator meaning whatever the weather outside, the environment inside can be a stable cool in summer but warm in winter. These massive logs have a huge thermal mass meaning they store heat during the day and radiate it out as ambient temperatures drop, reducing the need for additional heating by as much as 15% compared to conventional timber framed houses. For additional performance we can incorporate ground source heat pumps and solar panels into your designs. It is important to ensure this benefit isn’t lost however through gaps or air leaks between the logs, so knowing which timber to use and how to ensure seamless joints are all part of the skill of log building and part of the reason we love the job we do!
For more inspiration and to see these beautiful timbers in use, head to the Gallery page on our website.