Solid log or timber homes and fire safety

According to US National Fire Association, leading causes of occupancy related home fires start:

1-In the kitchen when cooking is left unattended
2-From heating systems that are not professionally checked and maintained.
3-From bad smoking habits resulting in bedding or couch/armchair smoldering.

– Fire resistance of solid log/timber homes
As a designer of log homes, I often encountered difficulties convincing local building departments all over North America of the great fire resistance of log walls.

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Lateral resistance of log walls

Earthquake and wind forces act on a building in the lateral direction or parallel to the ground. Engineers call this lateral loading.
Earthquake and wind are natural phenomena laterally acting on a building.
However, they are fundamentally very different forces that call for unique and specific design solutions.

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Solar energy log home design

Three main solar energy systems are available for household energy needs.

1-Photovoltaic power generation systems are designed to produce electricity when sunlight hits photovoltaic panels usually installed on roof slopes with southern exposure.

Those systems may cost up to $100 000.00 for an average size home to meet its energy needs. Performance drops sharply to negligible level for cloudy days.

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The masonry stove or thermal mass heater

Over ten years ago, I met Chris Hedderson from Rocky Mountain environment Technologies outside the Denver log home show. Chris had an outside booth with a masonry stove (modular refractory kit) fired up within a large tent. While it was a very cold weekend, I recall how toasty warm it was inside that tent. I kept his business card and after much research, knew that one day I would install my own stove.

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Custom design and drafting of construction plans

Introduction:

Unless you have significant architectural and building experience, designing a home is likely a daunting endeavor to most future homeowners.
Your first step is to define what you like; and to a certain extent, also what you dislike. Almost endless architectural styles are available from simple log cabin, traditional timber frame, cap cod, colonial, Feng shui, historic, passive solar, Victorian, modern or contemporary to name a few…

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Water heating options for your new home

Introduction:

Heating water typically uses 10% to 25% of the overall energy spent to run your home, and is the second largest energy expenditure after heating and cooling.
Water heater options:

A/ Storage tank water heaters are by far the main choice in North America.
They are cheaply mass produced, and have an average life expectancy of 10 years, depending on your water quality.

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Geothermal home heating and cooling

On our planet Earth, air, ground and water store close to half the energy striking it’s surface from the sun.
This huge store of renewable solar energy can be tapped using a heat pump to heat our homes in winter.
Also, in the summer, that same heat pump can be reversed to provide air conditioning for our comfort.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that ground source systems can save 30% to 70% of home heating costs compared to natural gas, propane, electricity, oil or coal.
In the summer, cooling costs can be lowered from 20% to 50%.

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