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Community and Q&A

Deep Energy Retrofit True Log Cabin

scottbellner | Posted in General Questions on


We are looking for a new home in a very competitive and tight market North of Traverse City, MI.

The question is this:
How can we take a true log home towards a high performing energy miser? 

We performed a gut rehab and deep energy retrofit on a brick home in Chicago previously and are looking for opportunities to do the same in our next home to minimize our costs as we slide into our fifties and beyond with a fixed income on the horizon.

The home has a ton of potential, is in a gorgeous spot on a beautiful lake and can be had for a decent price because of poor decisions the builder / owner made along the way – all of which we can remedy – while making the home entirely our own, and hopefully making it tenable from an energy cost perspective.

I am a mechanical engineer by trade and understand this well but am looking for some starting points of advice from anyone that has already thought this type of project in the past.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #1

    There have been a lot of similar questions over the years--check out the "related questions" on the right side of the screen, if you're using a monitor.

  2. Expert Member


    For a start on Michael's suggestion, take a look at this blog:

    My own take is that if you want that house for all sorts of good reasons, you will simply have to accept it not being very energy efficient. Trying to mitigate those inadequacies will destroy the features that drew you to it in the first place, and still yield poor results relative to conventional construction.

  3. plumb_bob | | #3

    In BC our codes have been requiring progressively more strict energy efficiency, and I know some companies are producing log homes that are performing at the very highest steps of efficiency. But these houses are starting from new construction, taking an older log home to a high efficiency state will be very difficult. You can certainly make it better, but compared to a stick frame it will be hard to achieve the same level of air tightness.
    Typical problem areas are the log/foundation interface, and the log/roof interface.
    The actual log walls can be chinked to seal them up, and windows and doors can be removed and installed with better systems and materials.

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