128 Lyons Road, Sidney, ME 04330 hilltop@yourhilltophome.com 1-800-622-4608
Tuesday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm Saturday 9:00am to 4:00pm 1-207-547-2221
Home Articles  
Search:
 

Articles

Log Cabin Builders Going Strong After Fire

Kennebec Journal-Morning Sentinel, Leslie Bridgers, Staff Writer


SIDNEY -- Wreaths hang in nearly every room of the log home that faces the highway by exit 120. 

The model house is the office of Hilltop Log & Timber Homes, which relocated from Bowdoinham in January.  The 24-year-old company will celebrate Christmas in Sidney for the first time this year.  It's also Hilltop's first Christmas since a fire threatened to wipe out the entire business.

"It was devastating," owner Dan McKenna said about the May 2010 blaze that destroyed Hilltop's manufacturing facility, next to the model home.   News photos of the damage made it seem as though the entire operation had burnt down, McKenna said.  He feared it would turn away potential clients, and the company, which already had to cut half its employees during the economic downturn couldn't afford to lose orders.

"We didn't know what was going to happen," he said.  "We didn't know if business would keep coming in, but it did."

The fire started in a kiln for drying lumber and charred the company's custom-made saws, as well as a shipment of wood ready to be cut for a business in Illinois.  Chunks of lumber littered the lawn and soot that had blown through the windows and doors covered the model home.

The biggest challenge was re-creating the manufacturing facility.  Between cooperative weather and McKenna's creative thinking, the employees made it work.  Walls made from stacks of lumber and covered with tarps served as makeshift workspace while a new building was erected.  At the end of July, Hilltop moved its manufacturing operations back inside.  The new metal building is better than the old wooden one, McKenna said, the the company's insurance covered most of the costs."  It basically just slowed things down a little," the owner said about the fire's effect on his business.

The people who work for MxKenna, however, said he downplays the difficulty of dealing with the damage.  It was his leadership and even demeanor, they said, that saved the company.  "He's not one to blow his own horn, but I will," said Marian Tobin, the company's receptionist and marketing manager.  "He did an amazing job."

His cousin, who is a salesman for Hilltop, said McKenna's ability to overcome obstacles is just part of his personality.  "Dan has always been able to take whatever situation happens to come up and make the best of it," Harold McKenna said.  "He's never been one to dwell on the circumstances."

The company has 10 employees - down from 22 at its peak - and they include two of Dan McKenna's brothers, his nephew and his wife, as well as his cousin.  Another brother works as Hilltop's West Coast salesman, but is technically self-employed.

The company started when McKenna, who worked in construction and always wanted a log home, built one for himself in 1986.  Then a client of his who saw the house, asked him to build another.  "It just mushroomed from there, and kept on going." he said.

A plan book shows 77 log home designs, but the variety of what customers can order is limitless.  Though most of Hilltop's business comes from Maine, the company ships the packages of pre-cut houses all over the country.  They range in price from $17,000 for a cabin to $250,000 for a custom-built home.

McKenna, a Gardiner native, started the company at a site just off I-295 in Bowdoinham, so it would be visible to people traveling the state.  Then, the trees by the highway grew and began to block the sight line.  A couple of years ago, when Dostie's Log Home Specialties went out of business, McKenna bought its Sidney property and the model log home that sits on it.  Though the house isn't exactly the same as the ones Hilltop builds, it suits the company just fine, Tobin said.  She was looking forward to putting up the final decorations this weekend, before the week's tours start on Tuesday.

The new location, everyone agrees, is ideal.  Tobin said a lot of people who come through the door say they drive by the business all the time and have been meaning to stop.  "We get a tremendous amount of walk-ins," said Harold McKenna.  An Eastport couple that stopped in Wednesday was looking to sell their house and build in Perry, where they already have land.  They were driving by that day and saw the 20-foot sign by the highway.  When they left, McKenna said he was confident he'd see them again. 

"They come in curious, and leave interested," Tobin said.  "We might not see them again for a year, and then they come back and say, 'We're ready.'"


Log Home Firm Moves to Sidney

Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, Michele Cooper, Staff Writer

SIDNEY - A family-owned company that specializes in log and timber homes has moved its production facility and corporate offices to Sidney.  Hilltop Log & Timber Homes - which designs, manufactures and sells custom log, post-and-beam and stick-built homes, cabins and commercial buildings - has relocated to 128 Lyons Road.

The company's model home is visible to motorists traveling north on Interstate 95, near Exit 120. 

Dan & Cathy McKenna built their dream log home on a hilltop in Randolph in 1986.  Dan McKenna started out as a small general contractor in 1983, building traditional homes in southern Kennebec County.  He said that building their log home opened his eyes to a local market hungry for log homes - and, soon, his vision took shape.

In 1993 the company relocated to Bowdoinham with a full model-home complex and new manufacturing facility. 

With 27 years experience, the company sells to a variety of buyers, including those seeking smaller first homes, larger second homes, luxury vacation homes and camps or cabins.

But the poor economy has taken a toll on the company.  McKenna said a number of log home builders have been forced out of business.  In 2006, the company employed 26 people just in its office and manufacturing facility.  Cathy McKenna said there has been a number of layoffs, but in the spring when the snow melts, that will change.

"This is a very tough economic time right now and there are log homes companies, unfortunately, that have had to close their doors," she said.  "We're doing everything possible to stay here and serve our existing clients and find new clients.  And when the economy recovers, here we are."

Currently, the company has seven employees.  Those who have been laid off, she said, will be rehired in the spring.  "If business picks up, we'll be looking locally," she said.

Dan McKenna, originally from Gardiner, said his corporate office in Bowdoinham could be seen from Route I95 until trees along the highway grew too tall. He said the state wouldn't let him cut down the trees even though his business was in a commercail zone.  He has high hopes for the new location.

"I think this is going to be a very good move," he said.  "The location is a nice location.  I'm looking forward to the economy picking up and doing a lot of business in this area.  So many companies have gone out of business, but we're going to be around for a long time."

Cathy McKenna said the production facility moved first, then sales and administration offices.  The office opened officially January 5th.

She said most Hilltop homes are built out of pine from northern Maine, but the company also constructs them out of Western Red Cedar from the west coast.

"The production facility is a lot more streamlined," she said.   "We have a drying kiln right here on location so we can dry our own wood, and a working lumber yard.  The model is very nice.  It shows different styles of log homes, sort of all-in-one.  And, like I said, its visibility from the Interstate is just amazing."


From Dreams to Reality

Kennebec Journal • Morning Sentinel

BOWDOINHAM — If you are reading this article, it is likely that at some point in time you've dreamt of living in a log home. It is exciting to envision how your home would look. You can probably imagine what each room would include and can almost see some unique features that you would like.

When it is time to take the next step, how­ever, you may find yourself a bit over­whelmed with a myriad of decisions to make. What shape would you like your logs cut? What style would you like the exterior corners of the home to have? Would you like a conventional or heavy timber roof system? Would you like a shingle or metal roof... or some other type?

With 25 years experience delivering dream homes, Hilltop Log & Timber Homes, has the planning process down to a science and the expertise to take the worry out of your home project. As with much of life, time and money dictate a lot. It is no differ­ent when you are planning a home. (The first 2 steps address these factors.)

STEP 1: THINK BACKWARDS
Consider when you realistically can and want to be moving into your new home. Be specific. For example, do you want to move in during the spring or fall? From that point, count backwards about six months to account for construction time. Add an additional six months to one year if you are still looking for land. The length of time it takes to plan your custom home depends largely upon you. Knowing what you want in advance will shorten the planning time. At Hilltop, once your deposit is placed your home is put into a cut rotation schedule. Ask your Hilltop client adviser when your deposit needs to placed in order to get you in the schedule to meet your timeline goals.

STEP 2: FINANCIAL ASSESSMENT
There are ample creative ways to work within your budget. The key is to know what you can afford before you begin plan­ning. Hilltop Log & Timber Homes works with several top quality home mortgage lenders who can quickly assess a budget that is right for you. Be sure to include financing plans for the construction of your home if you are not going to build it yourself. A turnkey project price, including well, septic, earthwork, and foundation will be considerably higher than a complete materials package price. Which of these scenarios will be right for you?
With goals set for both time and money, you are ready for the fun part.

STEP 3: COLLECT & REVIEW
Take your time scouring through floor plans and photos. Chances are you will like some aspects from a few different ideas and will formulate your own home based on a combination of things. This is where Hilltop's client advisers and Custom Design Team apply your home choices to your budget and make recommendations to deliver you what you want at an affordable price.

STEP 4: DETERMINE PACKAGE
If you haven't already figured out what type of package you need during Step 2, now is the time to do it. Most log home companies offer a variety of packages. Common choices include a weather tight shell or complete package. A weather tight shell typically includes all your windows, doors, walls and roof only. This option may be suitable if you'd like to take the project to a certain point and then complete the inte­rior at a later time. Complete packages, as they are named, are intended to include all the materials you need to complete your home, except for appliances, finish flooring, sub-work and cabinetry. Complete pack­ages represent your materials and their associated costs only. These packages do not include the cost to build your home.

Choose a turnkey package, an option that includes that total cost to build your log or timber home, if you'd like to just "turn the key" and walk into your new home.   This package will include all the earthwork, foundation, any materials covered and not covered in a complete package and the actual construction of your home.
When shopping for log and timber home companies, take great care to compare not only the bottom line price, but in each item included in the package. Be wary of attrac­tively priced packages that leave you with an unfinished home as each company's packages are not the same!

STEP 5: OBTAIN ESTIMATE
Now that you've settled on a plan and package right for you, you'll need a price. If the estimate comes in higher than you arc comfortable with, this is the phase where you can make some adjustments to the plan, again to ensure that you meet your budget. The expertise of a Hilltop client adviser is a valuable resource at this point along the way. Your adviser will work very hard to keep all the things most important to you, while also honoring your wallet.

STEP 6: SUBMIT BLUEPRINT DEPOSIT
Now that distant dream should be start­ing to take shape. When you order blue­prints, you are on your way!

STEP 7: OBTAIN FINANCING
Remember your homework from Step 2? It will come in handy now. Since you will have already compared lenders, you should be ready to secure your loan.

STEP 8: SIGN CONTRACT/SUBMIT DEPOSIT
Your timeline should now start to unfold toward your projected move-in date. Time flies ... before you know it; you'll be living your log home dream.


Hilltop stands tall in Gardiner

Kennebec Journal, MECHELE COOPER - Staff Writer

GARDINER - A family-owned company that specializes in log and timber homes hasn't stopped growing since its conception in 1983.

That year, Daniel McKenna, a carpenter, and his wife Cathy built their dream log home in Randolph. From there, the business took off.

Hilltop Log & Timber Homes designs, manufactures and sells custom log, post-and-beam and stick-built homes, cabins and commercial buildings.

With nearly 25 years experience, the company sells to a variety of buyers, including those seeking smaller first homes, larger second homes, luxury vacation homes and camps or cabins.

The company's commercial markets include resorts, campgrounds, restaurants, log home developments and bed & breakfasts.

In 1993, the company relocated to Bowdoinham with a full model home complex and new manufacturing facility.

"Homes are personal on so many levels - functionality, appearance, financial means," said Daniel McKenna. "We believe that Hilltop Log & Timber Homes is unscathed by a downward real estate market because we get right down to that personal level with each and every customer, giving them exactly what they want and can afford. It just works."

Late August of this year, the state Department of Environmental Protection granted Hilltop final permitting for construction of its new 19-lot subdivision along Cobbosseecontee Stream in Gardiner.

The property, aptly named Streamside Estates II, is the second Hilltop property of its kind in Gardiner.

"The City of Gardiner was very easy to work with and anxious to have the first new development," McKenna said.

Steven Foard said his wife Keri always wanted to live in a log home.

They chose to have Hilltop build them a ranch-style log home in Streamside Estates I - a 12-lot subdivision built in 2005.

Foard, stationed with the Navy in Brunswick, said they liked the location of the subdivision because of its easy access to Interstate 95.

Marie Stuckey, marketing director for Hilltop, said every one of those lots have been sold.

"Living here is easy access to either Augusta or the Brunswick area," Steven Foard said. "And (Hilltop was) a good company to work with. Anytime we had a small problem, they were quick to come out and take care of it."

Jason Simcock, planning and development director for Gardiner, said Streamside Estate II is one of Gardiner's largest housing subdivisions in recent years and is a sign that Gardiner continues to be an attractive community in which to live.

Of all the towns in Kennebec County, Gardiner ranked third in the number of homes sold in 2006.

"It's a positive sign for the housing market in Gardiner," Simcock said. "Its location in relation to Portland and Augusta is becoming more attractive for commuters. The housing market for Portland has been creeping northward along the interstate corridors. And Gardiner is in that region now. We're finding more and more people moving to Gardiner."

McKenna's son, Nate, sales and operations manager for Hilltop, said two lots already have been sold in the new subdivision.

"Our current subdivision (in Gardiner) brings in over $1 million a year for the tax base," Nate McKenna said. "And we use a lot of local contractors."

Hilltop also has subdivisions in Dresden, which filled up immediately, and Bowdoinham, he said.

The subdivisions, which range in size from five to 19 lots, have been a boost to the company.

Nate McKenna said the company sells the property and then handles the full construction of homes, including custom designs, anything from conventional structure wood exterior, to post-and-beam and log homes.

And Hilltop has recently been certified by the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development as a Pine Tree Zone Company.

The certification grants the company access to Maine business incentive programs and will allow Hilltop to create increased business activity and employment opportunity to support Maine's economy.

Hilltop plans to purchase land, machinery and equipment and will create new jobs, build a new warehouse, improve the existing facility and install three-phase power. In return, the company will receive tax relief on new employees and business expansion.

John Richardson, commissioner of the Department of Economic & Community Development, said Hilltop is a great addition to Gov. John Baldacci's new Pine Tree Zone initiative.

"The initiative will help increase competitive advantage for the job market in Maine," Richardson said.


Hilltop Log & Timber Homes stay energy efficient (PDF)


Bowdoinham voters opt to take part in BNAS tax break zone

BOWDOINHAM - Voters approved the town's participation in a Military Redevelopment Zone by an 18-7 vote at a special town meeting Thursday. Out of 2,368 registered voters, 25 voted at this meeting.

The redevelopment zone is a state tax break program modeled after the Pine Tree Zone to help offset adverse economic impacts caused by the impending closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station. Bowdoinham chose to use the program and designate acreage to help existing businesses grow.

As was the case during the public hearing held on Sept. 26, residents who showed up for the special town meeting on Thursday asked questions about the program and about the wisdom of state policy to administer this kind of tax break program.

Some voters expressed confusion about what the Military Redevelopment Zone is, confusing it with land zoning and asking why it was connected to specific parcels.

Some residents wanted to know if they could participate in the program and if the town could increase its 19.88 acres currently set aside as Bowdoinham's portion of the 500-acre zone. All of that land is owned by Hilltop Log and Timber Homes on Pond Road.

The voters who turned out Thursday also unanimously passed an emergency management ordinance that outlines what the town should do in the case of an emergency. It makes the town more eligible for federal funds in the case of a disaster, and requires town staff and selectmen to go through special preparedness training.


Dreaming of a log home? Bowdoinham company helps make it a reality

Dreaming of a log home? - Dan and Cathy McKenna built their dream log home on a hilltop in Randolph in 1986. Since 2003, Hilltop Log and Timber Homes has offered a new "TIMBER Series," which is a hybrid timber frame and post and beam building system that uses structural insulated panels (SIPs). The panels, which are plywood bonded to insulation with an exterior log facade, are extremely energy-efficient.
Special to Business

BOWDOINHAM - Dan and Cathy McKenna didn't know two decades ago that building their dream log home on a hilltop in Randolph was really the start of building a local company that now constructs log and timber homes all over the country right from the little town of Bowdoinham.

Dan McKenna, 51, who currently lives in a home with his wife behind the Hilltop property in Bowdoinham, started out as a small general contractor in 1983 building traditional homes in the southern Kennebec Valley region.

Born and raised in Gardiner, he built a log home for he and his wife in 1986 on a hilltop in Randolph — his first log home — and that was where Hilltop Log and Timber Homes was born.

A natural carpenter, it wasn't a daunting task for Dan to build that first log home. But it opened his eyes to a local market hungry for log homes and soon his vision took shape. He came to Bowdoinham in 1993, bringing with him that driving vision that included a visible location on a hilltop along Route 125, where the company is always just around the corner from Interstate 295.

Before moving to Bowdoinham, the company was already moving forward full force and, by 1987, was already selling homes coast to coast. Dan's brother, Dave, was his distributor in Oregon where he still lives and distributes Hilltop homes. They've built homes as far away as Washington state and Arizona.

But the majority of their homes are still sold in Maine, and they tend to draw people who have left the state and returned to retire and buy their second home. That clientele increasingly is made up of baby boomers who are buying not just second but third homes. Most clients continue to come through referrals, said Dan's son, Nate — who Dan hopes will take over the business soon.

Nate, 31, is national director of sales and operations and, despite his youthful appearance, can take hold of a discussion about the direction of the company. Nate says the company has the quality product it needs for success, and is now working to increase its market share.

One factor that has boosted the company is its log and timber home subdivisions, which range in size from five to 18 lots. Some of those projects couldn't get much closer to headquarters, with one located in Windy Hollow Lane off Preble Road in Bowdoinham and another subdivision located nearby off Route 138. They have two more in Dresden and two in Gardiner.

He joked that in an informational DVD, his father tells viewers "It's just like Lincoln Logs" — the classic childhood log home toy set. The materials are bundled backward so that they are opened as needed for the building process and put together like a puzzle. That doesn't mean there's any lack of creativity in the homes, however.

"Ninety percent of what we do is all custom design," Nate said, and the company welcomes someone to come in with a different idea to challenge its drafters and builders, all of whom bring to the homes they build and design a special individual touch.

But for someone starting from square one, there are close to 100 stock designs to start from.

"If we haven't done it before, we'll create it," Nate said.

During Hilltop's annual log raising event, which includes building demonstrations, people come from up and down the East Coast and beyond. Nate said that people shopping for a log or timber home do their homework and are willing to travel. "People really like to be able to see something being built hands-on," he said.

Dan explained that customers have dreamed of their home — another reason this niche market isn't impacted the same as the overall house building market. "They're planning on this," he said, because they've decided "I'm going to have a log home."

But Hilltop can still use a little help to stay competitive. For example, Dan said that Hilltop is currently filling out the paperwork to become a designated Pine Tree Zone as part of the state's program designed to create more quality jobs by providing employer tax incentives. If Hilltop makes it into the program, Dan said they hope to add two kilns and a manufacturing facility that should meet their needs in the foreseeable future.

With 26 employees currently just in the office and manufacturing facility, plus the number of general contractors and employees with the five exterior crews and the interior crew, the program should also present the opportunity for employee benefits as well as internal growth, and the hiring of additional employees.

"We are truly a log home company," Nate said.

"But we don't put ourself in that box," Dan added, so as to not limit their product. "We just want to create custom homes."

These are not the log homes of the past, Nate said — no longer dark and dingy, but with the advancement of the technology involved to make them as efficient as any home.

"We did a lot of research with other companies and wood suppliers," Dan said in terms of choosing their materials. "We've been using the same supplier for 15 years."

A big component that keeps Hilltop competitive, Dan said, is the Western Red Cedar they carry from Vancouver, British Columbia. They also specialize in kiln-dried

Eastern White Pine, and since 2003 have offered a new "TIMBER Series," which is a hybrid timber frame and post and beam building system that uses structural insulated panels (SIPs).

The panels, which are plywood bonded to insulation with an exterior log facade, are extremely energy- efficient, Nate said. "To me, a hybrid is a blend of everything," he said.

Hilltop is flexible and caters to the client's taste, as long as it makes for a tasteful and quality product. For example, rather than having a fully-finished wood interior, a customer may want some drywall in areas to break it up, he said.

The company also offers free monthly seminars on planning, the design and the construction process for its clients.

And when asked about expanding or moving the company outside of Bowdoinham in the future, Dan said, "We're not going anywhere."

Visit Hilltop's Web site to learn more about the company and to view the products it offers at www.hilltoplogandtimberhomes.com.


Cabin Comfort (PDF)


Ask the Experts

Marie Stuckey
Sales/Marketing
Hilltop Log & Timber Homes
Bowdoinham, Maine
800-622-4608

New Energy Efficient Techniques Continue to Improve Log Homes

What new techniques are being developed to increase energy efficiency?

Reduce Heat Loss
Air leakage can be a major cause of heat loss. While some construction techniques rely on single tongue and groove construction with caulking set between the middle of the logs, this does not prevent water and insects from penetrating through the front.

Newer, superior techniques use double tongue and groove construction, special joinery and proprietary design to create an airtight seal and drip edge. As a result, the stacked logs act as one solid thermal mass. Caulking specifically created for log homes and applied to the front of the logs also prevents the invasion of wind, rain, snow and insects. Log caulking provides superior elasticity, allowing the log to expand and contract in any climate. Hilltop’s exclusive Triple Seal System pioneered these newer techniques.

Insulation Options
An increasing number of home buyers are looking for a mix of design elements, breaking up the interior wood with sections of drywall. The demand for this style choice is supported through the availability of super efficient Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) walls which provide two times the strength of a standard 2x4 wall system. SIPs are manufactured in a continuous lamination process in which the foam directly bonds to the skins, providing the highest strength bond possible. It achieves this remarkable strength through its laminated construction, with two skins of 7/16" oriented strand board surrounding a core of high-density isocyanurate insulation. The high-density isocyanurate insulation provides very high insulation levels and excellent fire safety characteristics.

What is the R-factor of a SIP?
SIPs are available in thicknesses of 4.5” yielding an R-25 value, 5.5” yielding an R-32 value and 6.5” yielding an R-38 value, the latter being the most recommended.

SIPs insulate as well as 9" of fiberglass or 6" of 1-lb. density expanded polystyrene (EPS), yet at an overall thickness of only 4.5" to 6.5” for the entire wall system. Once the exterior siding is added, the R-value again increases.

Is a SIP a green product?
Yes. SIPs meet government standards for a green product and because its energy efficient an increasing number of people are choosing them. SIPs products are tested for government standards annually.

If I choose a SIP panel home for energy efficiency, do I have to give up my dream of owning a log home?
Definitely not. Technically speaking a SIP panel home and a log home are two different animals. However, from the exterior and interior they can look identical. The SIP itself is not seen, and can be covered in whatever material the homeowner desires, including log siding outside and inside to achieve a log home look. Conversely, an expertly constructed log home also offers some great energy efficient properties.

What type of heating system do you recommend for my new log home?
Heating system choices are best made based on your geographic location and the design of your home. Geographically speaking, forced hot air systems are recommended for southern regions and warmer climates. The benefit of this type of system in the south is that it can be more efficient for the home owner when integrating with an air conditioning system. In northern regions or colder climates, a hot water baseboard or radiant floor heating system is preferred.

House design also affects heating system choices. Homes with very high ceilings and lots of glass might be heated differently than homes with sections or rooms that are closed off or used with less frequency. These factors should be taken into consideration when choosing a heating system.

If my home is facing the north because of the view, what else can I do to save energy?
High performance homes require less energy largely due to high efficiency windows. Glass is a major component in energy performance. It is not just the house itself – it is the products that go into the house. The use of premium quality and energy efficient windows is critical to achieving energy efficiency and long term savings.

With almost 25 years in the log and timber home industry and a background that includes general contracting these homes, Hilltop Log & Timber Homes has become extremely selective about product choices for its homes, especially when it comes to windows. The company advises home buyers to consider High-Performance Low-E4 glass with a hermetically-sealed system for optimum insulation from heat, cold and sound. An argon gas blend between two glass panes minimizes thermal transfer. High-Performance Low-E4 glass is 35% more energy efficient in winter and 41% more efficient in summer, creating the potential for a dramatic reduction in energy bills.

Are there other areas of the home where energy can be saved?

After windows, roof systems account for the greatest heat loss in a home at over 50% of the total. You can not underestimate the importance of a superior roof. Insulation is compartmentalized between the rafters of a conventional roof, leaving gaps for air leakage. A conventional roof has breaks in its insulation, where the R-value drops to ratings between 3 and 6. Additionally, the presence of any moisture at all in standard pink insulation reduces the R-value by almost half.

A heavy timber roof system is significantly more efficient with no break in the insulation and includes 5”of R-32 rigid insulation. Unlike a conventional roof where insulation lays abutted against each rafter compartment, Hilltop offers rigid insulation panels that overlap one another, leaving a continuous impasse for air to creep through. Additional R-value increases can be achieved through the use of thicker insulation strips or a SIPs panel roof, which provides an R-38 value.

When used with proper sealants, SIPs make an extremely air tight home, cutting the amount of heating or cooling energy lost through air leakage. To keep air within a SIP home fresh, an air to air heat exchange system is recommended, but is not as necessary in a log home.

How can I tell if a product is energy efficient?
The US has created the Energy Star Homes program to rate the energy efficiency of home products. To test for Energy Star ratings, a blow test is performed to find air leakage. SIPs automatically have an Energy Star rating because hundreds of tests have documented the air tightness of SIP homes. Using SIP panels is the quickest step toward achieving an Energy Star rating because SIP panels are so tight; the Energy Star program has waived the blower door requirement. The EPA provides SIP builders with a SIP Visual Inspection Form to replace the blower door test.

Because log home energy efficiency depends on both quality wood products and quality construction techniques, blow tests are recommended.

Can a whole house have an Energy Star rating?
Yes, but only if all the products within the home meet the Energy Star rating criteria.


Sweet Dreams (PDF)

 


Just the Way They Wanted It (PDF)