There is a bias against log construction in the new North American Building Energy Codes which are now being adopted, and log builders have some challenges ahead. Some log builders and their customers have already come up against the new codes - specifically as regards log wall thickness and air leakage.
To that end the BC Log and Timber Frame Association became involved in log wall testing with RDH engineering. Some of the gasketed log walls performed at 100% in the air and water penetration tests. (proper installation was a factor).
In the new Energy codes log diameter and lateral width as well as species are factored into the calculations used to determine the insulative value of the logs in their formula. Whatever we may know about the effective R Value and thermal mass unique to our homes, this is may not be a consideration when our buildings are measured for the new standards. Further testing on log walls is planned and we will keep you posted!
We have had good success with blower doors tests-particularly on a home we exported to Denmark some years ago. In Denmark blower door tests are required, as they will also be required here in North America. The results were so good that the technician thought his calibration was off. After recalibrating, the same positive results were achieved.
The house was a scribed fit/post and beam (P-gasketed). It must be noted that the customer was diligent in his finishing, and paid very careful attention to window and door details and at material interfaces. Will your log home pass the blower door test?"
One of the resources he used to achieve these details was the long awaited log homes finishing manual written by Dalibor Houdek for FP Innovations. The book is titled: The Illustrated Guide to Log Home Construction and is available through the ILBA, Amazon and the BC LTBI as well as FP Innovations. See links on our Resources Page.
Further testing on log walls is planned and we will keep you posted.
You can review the testing and modelling summary compiled by RDH Engineering here: Building Enclosure and Energy Performance of Log and Timber Homes.
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