Ample evidence that log homes are energy hogs

Ample evidence that log homes are energy hogs Dave Loeks' letter in the Jan. 30 News attempts to twist the log home energy argument, but portions of it aptly make my point, including his statement that "we are all entitled to our own opinion, but not our

Dave Loeks’ letter in the Jan. 30 News attempts to twist the log home energy argument, but portions of it aptly make my point, including his statement that “we are all entitled to our own opinion, but not our own facts.” But who has offered an opinion, and who has referenced facts?

To summarize, this exchange started when Mr. Loeks claimed that log homes are energy efficient in ways that “aren’t really well understood.” Now he’s claiming that log homes are more comfortable, and presumably more energy efficient, than frame homes.

That’s a problem with those who profit from selling alternate construction assemblies. Every product has trade-offs, but the marketing claims would have you believe it’s all pro, no con. I believe that potential purchasers should have some facts before they make a decision.

Mr. Loeks states that my rebuttal to his claims is just an opinion, even though I quoted sources such as the National Research Council and a log builders association. Referencing reputable sources isn’t a personal opinion, it’s a presentation of facts based on testing.

Ah, but Mr. Loeks claims that all testing has been laboratory work or computer modeling, so isn’t representative. The lab work has been large-scale test walls that allowed for multiple variables, not little test-tube samples. Further, over 50 years of testing has produced consistent results. In sum, log walls are poor insulators, the thermal mass has some value in a moderate climate, and log homes use a lot of energy in a cold climate.

But wait! Loeks notes that the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is going to do a whole-home, real world comparison of different wall constructions, and this will “at last provide valid comparative data.” Apparently Mr. Loeks is unaware of a study conducted during 1981-82 in the U.S. Complete homes with identical plans, one frame and one log, were measured.

I suppose this test isn’t quoted by log builders because it didn’t give the results they want. There have been similar “in the field” studies. I’m surprised Loeks doesn’t know about them.

Loeks states that the data proving log homes are energy hogs doesn’t “yet exist.” Sure it does, unless Loeks’s personal opinion outweighs 50 years of testing.

But rather than believe either Loeks or myself, there’s a couple simple observations any Yukoner can make. In a cold winter, my 20-year-old wrap-and-strap house burns three cords of wood in an Ardent 65 stove to heat 1,800 square feet. Simply, that’s one cord per 600 square feet per winter. People I know in similarly sized log homes use between eight and 12 cords, or three to four times as much. What’s your consumption?

Yukoners are also familiar with the stud lines on house walls that appear both inside and outside, when it gets cold. A friend joked that he’d wait until winter to hang pictures, as he could see every stud. That’s the wood conducting energy outside.

Mr. Loeks has one thing right: “saying it’s so doesn’t make it so.” I think it’s pretty clear which one of us is just saying things, and which has substantial evidence to back up the statement that log homes are energy hogs.

Charles McLaren

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Most Read