Looking for ways to save money in your new Katahdin Cedar Log Home? One of the many things we talk about in our log home seminars are ways to design your home to take advantage of nature’s gifts—saving money without a big investment.
Take a Southerly View
Making note of your home’s position relative to the points on the compass can make a big difference in saving money and energy. First, note how your home is oriented on the north-south axis. To best utilize natural sunlight, rotate your home so that the long side of the home faces south. This will position the largest roof area facing south, so that if you do plan any solar panels you’ll be in the best position to do so. We can make adding solar easy with our Solar Ready Homes program that helps to maximize the solar potential during the design phase.
Sunlight Saves Electricity
It’s easy to understand that you can cut your electricity bill by reducing the amount of electric lights you need. Enhancing natural light in the kitchen and great room area by orienting these locations to the south and including lots of windows can really save. You’ll also want to pay attention to bedroom orientation—many early risers like to capture the sunrise through their bedroom windows.
Windows Enhance Passive Solar Warmth
We love windows in our log homes, so why not let them work in the winter? Our design department can help design a combination of roof overhang and windows to maximize the passive solar heat in the wintertime and natural light in the summer. The low sun in the winter warms south-facing rooms during the daytime. The extended overhang will shade those windows in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky.
Landscaping Saves Energy Too!
If you’ve ever driven through farmland, you’ll notice that many farms have a line of trees or hedges on the west and north side of the main buildings. These farmers learned long ago that blocking the prevailing winter winds from hitting the side of your house can keep it cozier and easier to heat in the winter. And, if you’re in a winter weather zone, you’ll get less snow to shovel when the trees block the wind. For the best winter wind blocking, select evergreen trees and shrubs.
Deciduous Trees Work Hard in the Summer
Hardwood deciduous trees like oaks, maples and beeches can provide welcome cooling shade during the summer months, while allowing weaker winter sun to boost passive solar performance. We especially like dwarf fruit trees for locations close to the house. They can provide plenty of shade, are easy to prune, and don’t get too large over the years. Plus, the fruit harvest is a great bonus!
Tapping the Earth’s Energy
Many modern homes rely on improved technology to tap into the earth’s energy for heating and cooling. Heat pumps use either ambient air temperature or geothermal temperatures to convert to both heat and cooling at a very efficient rate. Geothermal systems can be a bigger investment than traditional HVAC systems, but compare that cost to the potential costs of fossil fuels over a 20-year time span. The earth’s heat is always there and free to tap into! If geothermal isn’t a good fit, air heat pumps can provide efficient heat and cooling as well, and when paired with solar panels to carry the electrical load, your home can reap the benefits of the energy mother nature has to share.