Every year the International Log Builders Association hosts a conference allowing builders, designers, inspectors, marketing companies and other professionals in the Industry to come together learn, network and share a few drinks.

This year marked the 42nd annual conference and was held at the Chateau Montebello – Montebello, Quebec, Canada, which is one of the oldest and largest timber structures in North America.

This year’s International Log Builders conference was largely focused on energy codes and energy efficiency of timber structures. There are likely some changes coming and the conference allowed for some great discussions to take place on this topic.

Changing Energy Codes

Germany is one of the leaders when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability. With the changing energy codes Germany is seen as one of the leading countries to guide these new rules and regulations. Currently, each country and in some cases, community has their own regulations but as a conscious they are becoming more and more strict. Full scribe log homes are the main structure style being discussed. Many tests are taking place in Germany and around the world to measure how energy efficient they are and the impact they have on the environment. From the information shared during this session we learned that there are many benefits. Timber structures and full scribe homes built correctly can out stand modern development, be energy efficient and good to live in.

New International Building Codes

Similar to what is taking place in Germany the International Code Council (ICC) is also conducting many tests on the energy efficiency and sustainability of timber structures. The ICC is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. The United States follows the International Building Code that is approved by the ICC.

The log building industry could be seeing some changes to the compliance rules in the coming years. The ICC is exploring and testing log walls, life cycle analysis and how timber structures can be recycled.

In our opinion we think that these and other tests are great for the log home building industry. Properly built log structures are extremely energy efficient and have a long life cycle. There are a couple of key features that need to be in place to ensure a solid home, just like any other structure. A good roof over hang that don’t allow water and bugs to get at the structure is key. Once water starts to get into your structure it can cause a lot of damage and be hard to fix. Good joinery both with a joining logs and where logs meet drywall or are important, especially when it comes to full scribe. As the house starts to settle and shrink you want to keep everything as tight as possible with no gaps. Unfortunately, these practices are not followed by all builders and designers. Yes, it might look neat to have a log post hang out in the elements but it can cause rot and water to enter your home and cause great amounts of damage.

If you want to learn more about the energy efficiency and international building codes for your area we suggest that you contact your municipal office. If you are thinking about building and not sure where to start we can help you navigate the information as well so feel free to contact us.