Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ziggy Speaks on Timber Frame Homes: Advantages in Energy Efficiency


Today, a guest post by Ziggy; builder of Gobcobatron (the house pictured with Ziggy and his partner, April, left), author of The Year of Mud, and producer of two natural building workshops this coming summer at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Timber frame houses have a very long history, dating back to Neolithic times and continuing all the way through the present day. The craft has been refined over time, but the principles have changed very little -- timber frame building uses felled trees to their fullest potential to create homes that are durable, economical, and beautiful. Unlike the conventional "stick frame" home of modern times, the timber frame is very economical and lends itself to excellent energy efficiency.

Timber Frame Houses are Economical
Using felled trees to their fullest potential, a timber frame home is naturally more economical and thrifty as there is much less waste in the production of the necessary elements of a frame -- large posts, beams, etc. Similarly, timbers take greater advantage of the natural strength of a tree, as opposed to smaller dimensional limber. Not only that, but it is uncommon that large timbers are shipped over long distances due to the sheer size and weight, so timber frame construction actually encourages (and nearly demands) the use of local resources.

Timber Framing Supports Excellent Home Insulation
Timber frame homes are much more conducive to implementing high levels of insulation, as they allow for much more uninterrupted space between vertical members to wrap or fill with various types of insulation, including straw bales, one of the favored natural insulation materials. On the other hand, stick frames have many vertical members spaced closely together that break up wall space and make it challenging to fill with insulative material, or worse, do not actually provide a full wrap of insulation. And of course, adequate insulation is one of the essentials keys to an energy efficient home.

There are more advantages than just the ones I have described above -- check out this site for more information about the benefits of timber frame construction.

Learn Timber Frame Home Construction
Two natural building workshops are being offered in 2012 at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage to teach folks about how to build their own energy-efficient, natural homes. Check out these straw bale workshops and a timber frame workshop that promises people the chance to learn skills that are indispensable for creating energy-efficient homes.