I just read the article about Dave Loeks’ building system.
I applaud his desire to create good quality, durable, affordable housing. However, I question whether this style of building is the right one for our northern climate or in these times of increasing energy costs and climate change.
On his website, Loeks claims, “Their eight-inch-thick walls are warm Ã studies show solid timber to have an energy performance comparable to that of an insulated wall of the same thickness.” I haven’t read those studies and my information tells me that wood has an R-value of about 1.25 per inch, which means his eight-inch-thick walls would have an insulating value of R-10, less than that of the military houses built in the late 1950s with 2×4 walls. This doesn’t come close to insulation standards of today.
A house with two-inch by six-inch stud walls has an insulation value of R-20 and the walls in Supergreen Homes being built by Yukon Housing and others have insulation values of R-60.
Loeks also claims on his website, “But (the walls’) thermal mass retains and re-radiates heat for even comfort.”
I’ve heard this claim before but it doesn’t make sense.
The heat stored in this thermal mass will be radiated to an area cooler than the walls and the coolest area is the outside. That stored heat will be radiated to the outside.
This, coupled with the low insulating property of wood, tells me that these houses will require a lot of energy to keep them warm.
That means high fuel bills and excess greenhouse gases.