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Designing the Ultimate Energy-Efficient Floor Plan

See how these homeowners customized a floor plan to make their log home LEED to a T.

Written by Griffin Suber


Plan Details

Square Footage: 3,530

Bedrooms: 3

Baths: 3.5


Troy and Krista Brown’s property in Nottingham, New Hampshire, sits at the end of a long road inaccessible to oil trucks and most utility vehicles. Unable to rely on fossil fuels for energy, they got creative and now, thanks to some surgical design work, they don’t even need to turn on the heat of their 3,530 square foot home until late November.


Why a Log Home

Initially attracted to the rustic nature of logs, Troy was similarly inspired by the PassivHaus movement in Germany, which aims to construct homes with the lowest possible ecological footprint. His dream was a combination of an old look and feel with modern energy standards.


Most Important Features

For the Browns, energy efficiency was paramount. The windows in the master bedroom are German double-pane glass which have an exceptionally high R-value and pivot in when opened for superior ventilation. Their home was built with air-tight construction and has a “wicked low” HERS Score of -11. For all their work, Troy wanted a seal of approval — his log home was the first in the state to receive a LEED Platinum V4 certification.


The Lowdown

Katahdin builder Stephen Howard worked closely with the Browns to achieve their ambitious specifications. The foundation is perfectly oriented on solar south to maximize solar-panel efficiency. The small construction team used cedar logs assembled in clad-wood style and then employed thermal imaging to identify air leaks. In the end, the home was completely custom, and Katahdin has since adopted ideas from this project for their other homes.


The Inside Scoop

Energy efficiency makes a home livable year-round and saves money in the long run. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Insulation: Stephen used two-and-a-half times more insulation than normal around the windows, which are triple glazed.    
  • Too many cooks: When precise details are important, a smaller crew can help make sure nothing is lost in translation.
  • Attention to detail: Troy and Krista insisted that every single seam of insulation be tape sealed. In the end, their home was 10 percent more efficient than they had hoped.


Check out more log home floor plans here.

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