According to the U.S. Green Building Council, "green building" (also referred to as "eco-design" and "sustainable design") has an increasingly profound effect on our environment, our health and available resources.
This movement encourages professionals and consumers to evaluate the current state of our planet — and to make thoughtful choices about how we use energy, water and building materials. Here are some ways for your log home to "go green."
Solar electrical power systems are extremely efficient — their ineffectiveness on overcast days is a myth.The cost of a 3,500-watt PV system averages about $15,000 but, depending on electricity rates, they usually pay for themselves in seven years. The overall goal: getting your electricity bills to $0. You may also consider a sunroom or solarium to brighten up your living space.
Using renewable or sustainable resources (i.e., materials that grow back quickly after they are harvested) offers similar benefits. Many flooring options fall into this category, including easy-to-clean cork, which is typically $8-$11 per square foot. Available in a wide array of colors and patterns, cork flooring is made from ground-up wine-stopper waste that’s formed into sheets using minimal adhesives.
True linoleum, made from sawdust, linseed oil and pine rosin, is another all-natural material that offers non-toxic durability and style for log homes. Also look for ways to incorporate durable materials that rarely need replacing. Some energy-conserving windows come with a 50-year guarantee. Meanwhile, metal roofs often last the life of your home (compared with an average of 15 years for asphalt tiles).
Or take another road by using EuroSlate, durable and low-maintenance roofing tiles made from recycled auto tires. Once you move in, keep the green spirit alive. Shop antiques stores, flea markets and salvaged material outlets for gently used furnishings and other home supplies. And, of course, don’t forget to recycle.