The Log Home Neighborhood

An online log home community for log home enthusiasts.

As I've told you before, I'm definitely a fan of all things small. Cozy abodes with little nooks and crannies, perfect for curling up on the couch with a big down comforter and a Meg Ryan movie—I can't think of anything better. Still, there is such thing as too small. Take my current apartment for example. At 490 square feet, the space feels cramped—and that's just when I'm there. Add my husband and 60-pound pup to the equation and it can be downright claustrophobic.

But there's something that bugs me about my shoe box of a rental apartment even more than the size. From the lack of closet space to the location of the cable outlets, it's difficult to feel completely comfortable in a space where you've had no say in the design. And with the ever-growing popularity of living green, it can be hard living in a place where you can't even control the AC or heat level in your own building.

So, for now, I do my part to stick up for Mother Earth by using my SIGG water bottle when I go to the gym, using CFL bulbs in all of my lamps and opting for cloth grocery bags (I love these). Sure, it may not be much, but it's a start. When you can't go all out, you have to ask yourself what choices you can make to live a little greener and go from there.

It's the same thing when you build your own custom home. Sure, you have the ability to control the materials that go into your house, as well as the final floor plan and design elements. But, when it comes to saving the planet, you may not be able to incorporate everything you'll need to create a completely green house. So, what areas should you invest in?

Although there may not be one single thing that works for every homeowner, there are a few popular suggestions that we hear time and time again from designers and green-building professionals. Here are a few to think about:

Get Oriented.
Before you decide where you're going to site your home, study the lay of the land and put the sun to work for your future log home. Pay attention to how the sun crosses your property and then orient your house to catch the natural light. You'll also want to think about your climate. If winters are brutally cold, plan your layout so your main living spaces receive southern exposure.

Save Water.
Using high-efficiency toilets (HETs) and low-flow shower heads and faucets will significantly reduce the water usage in your home. Also, some new toilets come with dual-flush handles, which allow you to choose between flushing less water (just over a gallon) for light waster or using the full amount.

Look to Energy Star.
Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10 to 15 percent less energy and water than standard appliances. You also should consider Energy Star-qualified windows, doors and skylights, which will save energy and increase the comfort in your home. Plus, by using less energy, you're decreasing the amount of pollution produced by power plants.

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