Have you thought about building an eco-cabin? Eco cabins appeal to private homeowners as well as commercial property owners. As an individual, you may be drawn to the environmentally friendly components as well as a desire to reduce your carbon footprint and lower energy needs.
As a commercial property owner, these factors may appeal to you as well as looking for something new to offer your guests. Many people who may not want to live in eco-cabins year-round would enjoy an eco-friendly vacation experience. It could be a cozy romantic retreat or something larger to accommodate a family or a group. The design could be rustic or more luxurious. It can be designed to complement a myriad of styles.
Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made news recently for his eco-cabin design. The actor wants to help people “reconnect with the wild.” McConaughey’s Australian cabin rents for about $150 per night. What could you rent one for?
Eco-Cabins – Considerations
Sustainability is one of the main tenets of eco-cabins. This is where material selection comes into play. All Conestoga logs are responsibly sourced and come from Forest Stewardship Council certified vendors. Our engineered logs originate from trees in planted forests and have a smaller footprint than other log systems. The metal roofs we use have a 45-year warranty and can be recycled at the end of its life. As an added bonus, there is a wide selection of roof colors. Green is the most popular!
Window selection and placement is extremely important. Of course, you are going to want energy-efficient windows. At Conestoga, all windows come standard filled with Low-E W/ Argon gas which boosts energy efficiency. These windows meet or exceed regional build codes for energy efficiency. If you are looking to upgrade even more to a lower U-factor or a different solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), these options are available. We can also upgrade the glass package to include Low E Solar Cooling W/ Argon Gas which greatly improves the visible light transmittance.
Early in the design process, you need to determine where your windows will be placed. Southern facing windows help light and heat the building
. A house with 60% of its windows facing south (passive solar) may have its heating requirements reduced by as much as 25% for virtually no cost. It is important that it be properly designed to avoid overheating though, or you will negate any heat savings with air conditioning in the summer.
Insulation and Airtightness
A well-insulated, well-sealed building envelope is imperative to the performance of eco-cabins.
Conestoga logs are up to 28 feet in length which eliminates unsightly log joints as well as reducing the possibility of air and water infiltration. Joint-less log walls deliver superior weather and water resistance. Our logs are precision notched for an exact fit for structural integrity and weather-tight performance. Conestoga also offers insulation packages that can meet and exceed any energy code.
By its very nature, logs provide significant thermal mass. Thermal mass is a concept in building design and construction that describes how the walls of a building provide inertia against temperature fluctuations. Logs can absorb and store heat energy.
Appliances and Lights
Don’t underestimate the amount of energy that is used by appliances, electronics and lighting. Look for ENERGY STAR certified products and read the labels to see how much energy they will consume. LED lights will save electricity and money. According to Energy.gov, by replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.
Renewal Energy Sources
True eco-cabins gives serious consideration to its energy source. Electric, gas, and coal are the most prevalent but also heavily contribute to pollution and increased carbon footprint. Wind and solar are clean energy options considered by businesses as well as homeowners because there are no pollutants or greenhouse gases associated with them.
Longevity is another pillar of sustainability. There’s no point in investing in an eco-cabin if it won’t last. Conestoga log cabin kits are manufactured to stand the test of time.
A Few Little Things
Let’s not forget about some other things that will enhance eco-cabins:
- Rainwater harvesting
- Greywater collection
- Composting toilets
- A vegetable patch outside the cabin for some fresh produce
- Recycling (everybody should be doing that already!)