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ENERGY STAR Laurel View Log Home offers a green choice

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A Laurel View Log Home (LVLH) is featured in the South Carolina Energy Office's Residential Green Building Fact Sheet as the ENERGY STAR® Home in Greenville County. It is a good example of how a log home can be green built.

The package manufacturer Alta Log Homes, builder of green log homes for over 40 years, is not only the first log home company to partner with Energy Star, but had the first log home in the country that met the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification for Homes.

The LVLH home began with a Composite Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) foundation and concrete floored basement being poured. The first load of logs was delivered on January 15, 2007. By day four of adding the log courses, the main beams were constructed. The LVLH owners Terry Schager and Stacey Lindsay occupied the home in September 2007. Professional contractor Daniel Owens Construction was the builder.

A big plus for building these log homes in Greenville County is the fact that they are easily approved by code enforcers where other green homes like cob, earthships and strawbale run into problems. Mr. Schager said their one desired item that was not permitted was stainless steel porch railings around the house for less view obstruction and a cleaner look to the log structure. Greenville County does not allow cable porch railings in residential structures. Instead, the Ipe railings with Deckorators balusters passed inspection just fine.

The logs used in New York Catskill Mountain-based Alta Log Homes are white pine or red cedar from renewable and sustainable forests. Toxins are eliminated by air drying the logs instead of using the kiln dry process. Unlike stick built homes, every part of every log is used with no waste. Left-over materials become mulch for gardens and farm animal bedding. There are HomeTalk tours of the different rooms in their Greenbriar LEED certified model on the website.

ENERGY STAR homes are green because they are built with a tight envelope and advanced techniques to seal all cracks and holes so air and moisture do not penetrate; indoor air quality is improved and less energy use means lower utility bills and less maintenance; energy efficient windows and doors, like the Anderson KML front entrance door on the LVLH home, have better frame assemblies and sealing protective coverings for more even temperatures; lighting fixtures, appliances, ventilation fans and light bulbs are ENERGY STAR qualified; and an independent Home Energy Rater verifies that the home has passed its onsite testing and inspections and qualifies for the ENERGY STAR label by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.

As far as the LVLH utility costs, about 5,000 square feet are being heated and cooled by all electric in the summer and with the help of a Fisher Mama Bear woodstove in winter. With the inground pool, the highest electric bill ever was $215 in August 2012, but a typical electric bill in winter is between $90 and $110. A 24 tube solar water heater/collector with a 52 gallon heat exchanger tank has been added since and hot water is nearly free.

Homeowner Terry Schager says "It took a few years of seasons to build a good history of energy efficiency, but after the 7 years we’ve been in the house, it has exceeded expectations and has been a very comfortable home to live in. The energy enhancement touches I employed cost little enough that I had a return on the investment in about 18 months from the time we moved in." Those energy enhancers include use of super-insulation and thermal mass to increase the energy savings.

Laurel View Log Homes is the "only full service authorized dealer for Alta Log Homes in the South Carolina Upstate and Western North Carolina." They are located in Gowen's Fort, Landrum, South Carolina at the base of Hogback Mountain in Greenville County's Dark Corner. To visit the model home or for more information, contact Terry Schager, terry@laurelviewloghomes.com, office 864.457.5175, mobile 864.360.1549, or Stacey Lindsay, 864.360.6170.

View the Laurel View Log Homes website for pictures during construction of the home from the ICF foundation and rock walls and pillars through the courses of logs and framing to the interior cabinets, fireplaces and copper sink with cedar counter in the bath.

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