Below is a guest post with some information about the sustainability benefits of a timber frame home. There are some valid green arguments that can be made, and with most products, a lot of shades of green. Enjoy. Photos by Gravitas.
Timber frame homes combine beauty and function into one very green package. Although their appearance resembles that of their medieval European cousins, modern timber frame homes have little else in common with those venerable buildings. These are some of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable homes in construction today.
There are several ways a timber frame home earns its eco-friendly status. First, the timber frame design, or post and beam construction, uses much fewer building materials. The timbers are open to the interior, reducing the need for additional wall and roof support. In addition, the wooden beams used in timber frame homes are larger than standard dimensional lumber, which uses less wood. These timbers are harvested from wood farms that demonstrate sustainable forestry practices.
An additional to using new beams, timber frame homes often use recycled beams from demolished buildings. This reuse serves several purposes. First, less energy is used when no new materials are created. Secondly, perfectly good materials are given a new life and kept out of landfills. Finally, manufacturing costs are reduced when existing materials are utilized. This type of re-use is good for the environment.
Another way timber frame homes are ecologically friendly is in energy usage. The walls and roofs of these homes are insulated with a variety of materials, dramatically increasing the R-value. Most timber skeletons are enclosed with a type of foam board plus the wall space can be filled with straw bales. The increased insulation along with the both passive and active solar energy systems make for a home that costs very little to heat and cool. Timber frame homes are often so tight; homeowners have to resort to the old-fashioned method of getting in fresh air – opening a window.
Finally, the time it takes to build a timber frame versus a traditional home is significantly different. It might take three to twelve weeks to get a traditional built home completely enclosed whereas a timber frame home could be done in one to two weeks. Less time equates to reduced costs both financially and environmentally.
A timber frame home is beautiful, both to the eye and for the environment. These are homes built to last and designed to be ecologically friendly. When you want a home that can be built quickly, doesn’t use much energy and will take your breath away when you see it, you want a timber frame home.