Various Opinions on Log Homes

You’re looking for a unique home, one that isn’t a cookie cutter replica of every other home. Much has been written about log homes and perhaps you are wondering if one might be the answer to your desire for a “something different” kind of home.

In your quest to learn about this type of dwelling, you’ll find a number of differing opinions. It is sometimes challenging to separate myths from opinions or determine if one bad experience represents log home living all around.

Keep in mind that log homes are in one respect no different from other types of homes. They are only as good as the materials used, the quality of construction, and maintenance that sustains them post-construction.

What’s Old is New

These types of homes are hardly a new form of housing. They have sheltered humans for hundreds of years. And they keep gaining popularity in today’s housing market. Check out local newsstands and see how many log home consumer magazines are in the racks.

Myths/Opinions

Rarely is there a universal experience or opinion for anything, including homes made of logs. Some people have lived in them and swear they never will do so again; others wouldn’t live in any type of home. Consider some of these more common myths/opinions:

• Energy Efficiency: you may have read that these homes aren’t energy efficient. This may be true – depending. A well-designed log home, built to modern standards by knowledgeable and skilled craftsmen, can be as (or more) energy-efficient than a well-insulated frame house.

• Upkeep: according to opinion, this type of home either requires or does not require extensive upkeep. No home is completely maintenance-free. It is unrealistic to build such a home, let it weather with time, and expect that it requires not upkeep. Every log home needs periodic cleaning, preserving, and coating to protect the structure against moisture, weather, fungi, and insects.

• Settling and Rotting: all houses – no matter what type of construction – settle because land is constantly shifting and settling. Home designers have developed techniques to address this settling issue. Be sure to ask each manufacturer about settling systems when you are considering these homes.

• Fire Hazards: These homes may withstand the devastation of fire more readily because of their thicker walls. The current exterior wall code mandates that materials used must have a minimum of “one hour-rated fire-resistive construction on the exterior side. The typical 6-inch (or greater) log walls have a considerably longer fire resistant level than one hour because logs don’t easily burn; they will smolder for a long time before they actually ignite. Consider that 26 forest firefighters who survived the Topanga Canyon firestorm of 1998 by seeking shelter in a log home!

• Cost/Financing: rumors seem to persist that these homes are costly to finance and insure. Neither of these claims seems to have much credibility these days. Such claims may have been more likely when log homes were less common but should not be stumbling blocks today.

If you have never lived or vacationed in such type of home or cabin, consider giving it a try before you plunge into buying one. Some owners discovered they quickly tired of “so much wood” inside and out. Others found the experience unsatisfactory because they purchased a log home that had not been well designed, constructed, or maintained.

You can find both positive and negative opinions on almost anything when searching the Internet. Take time to research their design and manufacture companies that interest you and (if possible) view some of their existing homes before you make your decision.

How To Get Your Solar Energy Tax Credit

There are a lot of good reasons to go solar for your home or business. Many Bay Area homeowners have a solar system installed to protect themselves and their families against rising energy rates. While it is difficult to forecast exactly how much electricity costs will rise, or how quickly, one thing is certain – they will continue to go up. Conversely, an investment in solar for your home or business not only decreases or even entirely eliminate monthly electricity costs, it can also increase the property value of a home and lower the operating costs of a business. A third and very important financial incentive is the federal government’s generous solar energy tax credit.

The solar energy tax credit allows a homeowner to reduce the amount of income tax that they would otherwise have to pay the federal government. This credit is good for 30 percent of homeowner’s investment in their solar system, including solar panels, a charge converter, battery, and inverter, but only for the next three years. The credit will drop to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021. After 2021, the solar energy tax credit for residential customers will be eliminated entirely. While there is a chance the credit could be extended, many homeowners considering solar are planning to install their systems within the next few years to take advantage of the credit.

For commercial businesses looking to go more green, they can qualify for up to 70% off with solar tax incentives. Not only will you qualify for a 30% Federal Tax Credit but you can accelerate the depreciation of your solar system over 5 short years. These tax incentives are equivalent to 60%-70% of the system cost, leaving you needing only 3-4 years of energy savings to recover your entire investment.

In addition to the financial benefits of the solar energy tax credit, many people choose to go solar because they feel solar energy is a more environmentally responsible solution. Solar energy is both sustainable and renewable. Solar energy provides a zero-emission way to power buildings, and appliances, heat water, and refuel electric vehicles. The more popular and widespread that rooftop or carport solar panels become, the more they reduce the load on coal-burning power plants.

With buildings accounting for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., going solar can significantly decrease our carbon footprint. A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year-the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually. Going solar is not only a great way to go green, but taking advantage of the solar energy tax credit – before it expires – is a great way to save some green.

Where You Can Find the World’s Greenest Homes

If you’re looking for a place in this world that has lush green grass, tall trees, and clean air; you might want to visit some of these natural green cities. These won’t be cities in the middle of nowhere. The places we’ll give to you are mostly popular or maybe a site to see. These are the world’s top five greenest cities.

Starting off with a place you might never heard before, Malmo, Sweden. This city uses green electricity, hydropower, which reduces carbon footprints. They’ve used this system for a decade; reducing the carbon dioxide by 5%. They recently raised that bar to 25% making it one of the cleanest air cities.

This next city has been reported to be one of the greenest cities in South America, Bogota, Colombia. The city is a nice tourist attraction having a wonderful green forest and beautiful view of the city. To keep the city green doesn’t take much. They use more buses than cars and have more bike paths to keep carbon dioxide levels low.

A city that most Americans wouldn’t know is a green city, Minneapolis, Minnesota. You may ask how this city is green with the mass amounts of buildings and lack of Agriculture. They have created a new green program called GreenStep. This program was a statewide program trying to make an eco-friendly impression. The city has 130 miles of bicycle paths; 46 running through major roads and 84 running through parks and green spaces.

Our next city is in Germany, home of sauerkraut and beer. But Freiburg wanted to put a different vision in people’s minds. The people of Freiburg have taken extreme measures and now reduce energy use in homes. Germany is known for its very cold winters. But the people of Freiburg only use 40 gallons of oil for heat. Unlike the usual use in Germany which is 1,600 gallons; this being less carbon dioxide in the air for the Freiburg people. So if you enjoy cuddling up with your loved ones in the cold to help the environment, then this city has your name written all over it.

The last city has to be one of the most future green cities in the world, Vancouver, BC, Canada. The city of Vancouver is trying the impossible, Carbon-neutral. Meaning less fossil fuels and more solar, wind, and water powered. Of course this isn’t a quick procedure but they plan on making this happen in the year 2107. Vancouver is already a green city with devices like dual-flushing toilets, light sensors, and geothermal heating. By this rate Vancouver will be the cleanest city in the world and one of my top locations for tourism.

Well that sums up some of the greenest cities in the world but there’s more out there. It takes the whole city as a team to make an eco-friendly place. This world has enough climate, pollution, and power problems as it is. But to see cities around the world doing something better gives us a future for living green.

3 Reasons to Invest in Eco Friendly Properties

Rewarding yourself with a new house? Why not go green and eco-friendly? It has plenty of benefits, 3 of which are discussed below.

Eco-friendly homes use natural materials during construction

There are many choices of eco-friendly construction materials. They range from recycled wood, half-raw and half-recycled, and those made from dirt, straw, and clay. According to experts, materials of these made contribute less to the greenhouse effect. They trap less of harmful gases while allowing for a freer entry of natural light and air in and out of the house.

Overall, environment-friendly homes are known to exhibit better indoor environment quality. Improved lighting conditions, better air quality, and natural thermal conditions are some of the natural benefits one can get when buying eco-homes.

Eco-friendly homes are also health-friendly

The natural materials used in eco-homes are also health-friendly. This is very beneficial to individuals with health conditions like asthma and other respiratory problems. There have been several studies linking the use of eco-friendly materials in home construction. Significant changes on health conditions were exhibited by individuals who are known asthma patients.

Further studies revealed that the more natural materials used in them help facilitate the flow of cleaner air inside homes. They are also less likely to contain plastic by-products which release toxic substances. These substances are generally linked to carcinogens or substances that contribute to the development of cancer cells.

These days, developers are more aware of the health consequences of the materials they are using when constructing properties. Home buyers just need the proper information to educate or at least warn them that eco-friendly homes are by far among the best choices when health conditions are considered.

Environment-friendly homes are energy-efficient

Today’s thrust in construction of properties gives focus on energy-efficiency. It is a known fact that the earth’s natural resources, from which man depends for water and energy, are becoming fastly depleted. In order to contribute to conservation efforts, eco-friendly houses are designed such that they would not largely depend on non-renewable energy sources.

It is now common to see houses being put on sale that are designed with solar panels. With these, energy consumption is likely reduced to about third as compared to dependency on coal or other non-renewable energy sources for electricity.

Do not just think about yourself, think about Mother Earth too! Living in an environment-friendly house can be one of your unconscious contributions towards nature conservation and protection.

5 Simple Energy Conservation Ideas For Your Home

While most potential home buyers, consider their monthly mortgage payment (including principal, interest, and escrow/ taxes), many, fail to adequately consider other monthly expenses, associated with home ownership. Perhaps the most significant one, is the cost of energy – related activities, including electric, and heart. The purpose of this article is not to examine the many alternative heating alternatives, including solar, geo – thermal, etc, but rather, to review some simple steps, one can somewhat easily take, to make their home more energy – efficient, and friendly. Let’s look at 5 simple, basic, energy conservation ideas/ steps.

1. Windows and doors: What is the Energy Efficiency Ratio of your entry doors? What material are they made of? How are they hung? How much air is seeping out, through the spaces created, because of their alignment? Simply, assuring your door has a bottom sweep, and the spaces around the top, and sides, is reduced/ eliminated, will prevent heat escaping in the winter, and air conditioning, escaping during the summer. What type of blinds, or curtains are you using, and are you using them, to let sun in, when it is cold out, while reducing the entry of the heat of the sun, when it is hot? When was the last time you checked your windows, in terms of air – tightness, energy rating, and tinting (if your local climate indicates doing so)?

2. Insulation: Every form of insulation comes with some R rating. This number indicates the amount of insulation, but are you certain, all exterior walls and ceilings are properly insulated? Doing so, might potentially save a considerable amount of unnecessary energy costs.

3. Energy efficient appliances: Certain home appliances, especially refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, have become far more energy – efficient, in recent years. How old are yours? Look at the rating, and it will indicate how much energy a particular appliance might be using. When I recently replaced my refrigerator, the new one was far more efficient (therefore, cost less to run), than my 15 – year old model. Similarly, today’s oil and gas burners and boilers are far more efficient, than they have ever been!

4. Water and toilet: Are there any dripping faucets or toilets that continue to run – on? Eliminate the drips, change faucet heads (especially in the shower), and check the efficiency of your toilets.

5. Lights/ fixtures: Begin by making the effort to turn lights off, when you leave the room! What type of light bulb are you using? Many bulbs today are four, or more times, more efficient (use less energy/ wattage), than older ones. Do a lights and fixtures – review on a regular basis!

These 5 ideas may seem basic and obvious, but you’d be amazed how few people consider these. Unless you like wasting energy, and spending more than you need to, using these simple, conservation methods, will save money, and reduce energy waste.