When Bud and Louise Foster wanted to build a log home in South Carolina, they knew they wanted their dream home to be eco-friendly. They turned to Bill and Kathy Seymour and their two sons, William and Daren, to make it happen.
“Log homes are naturally energy efficient simply due to the building materials and construction techniques,” says Bill Seymour, CGP (certified green builder) and owner of Carolina Log Center, which uses log home packages from Katahdin Cedar Log Homes (Oakfield, ME) and Gable Log Homes (Sumter, SC). “We are very happy to have the first locally and nationally certified green home in these programs,” says Seymour.
The Fosters’ home became the first home to be certified green by the Build Green Greater Columbia program. Additionally, the home is ENERGY STAR Certified and is a certified Gold level green home in the National Green Building Certification Program administered by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center.
The 1,983-sq.ft. home passed the battery of tests with minimal modifications to the standard Katahdin log home package. For certification, the builder works with a certifying agent or third party certification company to ensure that each element of the home employs green practices. The process begins with the design, is followed throughout construction and is completed with a final inspection and blower door test to ensure minimal air infiltration.
The Build Green Greater Columbia program is administered by the Green Building Council of Greater Columbia, which is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders’ green building program. Homes in the program are third-party verified to ensure that they meet the criteria as outlined. There are three levels of certification in the Build Green Greater Columbia program: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The home built by Carolina Log Center and Carolina Diversified Builders is certified at the highest level – Gold.
Manufactured of high thermal value Northern White Cedar logs, the Foster home features Katahdin’s insulation package (this includes wrapping the inside of the log home with foam boards of insulation, which is then covered with tongue-and-groove paneling to maintain the look of a log home), Andersen 400 windows and patio doors, 20”-24” overhangs, low-flow water fixtures and a 92% efficient heating and cooling system. The home features a fully covered front porch, a large, screened rear porch and oak floors.
“The home is outfitted with a conditioned crawl space, tankless hot water heaters and a variety of other green building strategies,” says Seymour. “Using a compass, we positioned the house on the building site to benefit from passive solar heat gain in the winter. We also positioned the home between trees, so we didn’t have to cut down many trees at all—just a couple of dead trees where we positioned the driveway.
Carolina Log Center was founded in 1999, when Bill and Kathy and their two sons, William and Daren, decided they wanted to start a family business. Bill was previously in the auto sales industry, but had built several homes as well. “We like construction, felt comfortable in it.” They had purchased land to build a log cabin and this inspired a vision to get into the log home builder/dealer business.
“When we started researching the log home industry, we found out there is a huge difference between log packages, what manufacturers offer. We eventually found Katahdin Cedar Log Homes and Gable Log Homes, two extremely reputable companies.”
Both manufacturers offer excellent building systems, using either Northern White Cedar or Deep Swamp Cypress. “Both manufacturers mill their logs to extremely precise dimensions. It’s just a very smooth system that goes together well and makes for a tight envelope,” Seymour says.
Seymour says his passion for green building began long ago, when there wasn’t even a term for it. “Green building has always been a passion of mine. It stems back many years ago when I was a certified pipe welder. I built our first home in 1979. I built my own wood boiler with a heat exchanger and installed radiant heat in the floors of the home. I really enjoy being creative and saving money on energy. If we can break free from our dependence on oil, I think this country will be in a much safer position. So we do our part to help that along. We have been blessed, as a result.”