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.

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.

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.

Wood heating options for log and timber homes

Wood is a renewable energy resource and contrary to general belief wood burning does not contribute to the catastrophic climate changes we are starting to witness around the planet. Fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal which are extracted from deep beneath the earth surface are the main source of greenhouse gases that destroys the environment. Trees recycle CO2 from the air to grow, using the carbon to build its structure to about half the weight of wood. When the tree dies, it rots on the forest floor and slowly releases the carbon back in the air completing the natural carbon cycle. When wood is burned, it quickly releases similar amount of carbon in the form of CO2 thus completing the same carbon cycle.

Universal design for log homes

In North America about 2 million people live in a wheel chair.
Wheelchair and walking aid users live in 30% of households.
One out of five of us have one or more disability.
Our population is aging rapidly.
In 2040 one in four will be 65 or older!

Basic terminology:

ADA (American with Disabilities Act 1990) applies to public and multi-family buildings accessibility mainly for people with mobility and agility disabilities.

Windows, Doors and Skylights

According to US DOE EERE (US Department of energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy), inefficient windows, doors and skylights are responsible for over 25% of heating and cooling cost in a typical home.

Windows are an essential and expensive component of home construction that ensures ventilation and fresh air to perimeter rooms but also keep out wind, rain or snow, allow daylight to brighten the interior of the house and with good design will enhance the aesthetic beauty of your home.