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Published on Dec 15, 2010
www.signsofchange.org.nz Presented at Signs of Change National e-Conference, 15-16 November 2010, NEW ZEALAND
Judged by embodied energy, life-cycle cost, and operating energy (annual costs), handcrafted log homes provide significant and meaningful alternative housing for New Zealand. Handcrafted log homes, unlike manufactured log kits, are produced by craftsmen one-at-a-time. In New Zealand, it requires less than 40 years to grow excellent Douglas fir building logs. In the traditional localities of log construction, the same trees require 100 to 300 years to get to the same size. Log homes do not "waste" trees. An average stick-built home uses about the same volume of tree to produce the same size house. A house that is 170 square metres in size would require about 57 cubic metres of logs to produce the framing timber and sheathing to build it; and as a log house would require less than 55 cubic metres of logs. This difference can be attributed to the inefficiency of even modern sawmilling. In terms of volume produced, there is more "waste" produced at a sawmill than "timber" produced at a sawmill.