Monthly Archives: August 2012

Great Lakes Carpentry Focuses on Energy

Great Lakes Carpentry is committed to building energy-efficient homes.  We conduct home performance testing for our new homes through the Focus on Energy New Homes Program.  We also provide performance testing for our remodeling projects through Home Performance with Energy Star.

Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program.  Great Lakes Carpentry is a member of  the Focus on Energy New Homes Program and is dedicated to helping Wisconsin residents and businesses save money, energy, and protect the environment.

– Focus on Energy has received the highest level of international recognition for managing environmental impacts and instituting a culture of continuous improvement.

– Focus on Energy offers incentive programs for residents and business . Follow the links to learn more about each.

– Through the Focus on Energy New Homes Program, we provide third-party testing of your home. The third-party is responsible for testing the home for energy efficiency.

– Did you know Focus on Energy offers a program to recycle your old appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators for FREE? Now you do.

To learn more about Focus on Energy visit their website:

Stongwood Log Homes: Advantages to kiln-dried logs

Wisconsin Energy Star rated and Green Built Certified Stongwood log home in Tomahawk Wis.

The number one feature that sets Strongwood apart from its competitors is the fact that they properly kiln-dry their logs.  This is the process of removing moisture from the log.  Properly kiln drying logs can remove up to 10 thousand pounds of water out of the typical log home.

Many competitors who kiln dry their logs only do so for about a week or two. Stongwood kiln dries their logs from anywhere between 28 and 52 days, depending on the diameter of the log.  Taking the time to kiln-dry logs offers numerous advantages.

This is an example of butt and pass.

This is an example of saddle notch.

– No log shrinkage
– Miniscule log settling
– Minimize log checking and cracking
– Eradicate mold and bug larva that still may be existent in the log
– Reduce construction costs and trim labor
– Less likelihood of warping, twisting, and shrinking
– Less oozing sap

Kiln drying logs provides you with energy-efficient log walls with airtight joints.

This will allow your home to be more cost-effective at the outset and over time.

Just like any other home, a Strongwood log home is fully customizable.  They

This is the first full log home in the State of Wisconsin. Here you can see the dovetail style of the home.

offer the largest variety of log profiles in the industry.  Some of the styles include full-round, D-logged, rectangular, Swedish coped, butt and pass, and dove tail.

To see more Stongwood homes visit their website.  Also don’t forget about Great Lakes Carpentry, we are more than happy to assist you in building your next Stongwood log home.


Full frame eastern white pine.


Timber framing structure is an ancient method of building construction and dates back to the earliest recorded in history.  The first settlers brought this tradition to the United States.  Timber framing was the dominant form of construction in the States until the early 19th Century.  This style of building went to the wayside for two reasons.  First, there was a lack of large trees, particularly in the West. Second, the development of the circular saw and round nail brought on a revolution.  Pre-sawn nominal timbers were easier to ship via railroad and could be constructed by a smaller crew.


Timberpeg®takes its design from traditional mortise and tenon joinery.  This centuries-old technique of securing timbers with oak pegs is the primary fastening system used with Timberpeg® timber frames.

This is a Douglas Fir frame that was stained by the homeowner prior to erection. This project would be considered a timber frame hybrid, which means only this part of the home was built using timber frame.

An important aspect to take into consideration when designing a timber frame home is the type of look you want.  Timberpeg® allows you to choose from a variety of truss designs. We offer the highest grade of Douglas Fir.  Douglas Fir is Select Structural and better, rather than the number one or two grade used in most building.  Another grade of timber we suggest is eastern

This is a full timber frame home using eastern white pine. Here you can see the curved knee braces which add character to the home.

white pine.

Energy Efficient

A Timberpeg® home is not only gorgeous but the company keeps the environment in mind throughout the whole manufacturing and building process. Cutoffs from their manufacturing process are recycled locally and made available at no cost to people who use them for fuel, crafts and other projects. The sawdust is also donated to local farmers.  Timberpeg® uses citrus-based cleaners to clean their tools, which wont harm the environment and most of the tractors and trucks are powered with biodiesel fuel.

Not only are their factories environmentally conscious, but they are dedicated on helping you preserve the environment as well.  A Timberpeg® home can be equipped with structural insulated panels (SIP) which will save money on energy costs and reduce energy consumption.

Three Tips When Building a Timberpeg® Home

1. Agree on a realistic budget: Be upfront with your Timberpeg® representative about a budget. There are three variables of construction: size, complexity, and level of finish. All of these can be adjusted to build the home you want an within the budget you specified.
2. Plan Based on the Framing: You want to make sure your framing and the floor plan work well together in order to avoid going over budget due to having to customize the frame design.
3. Don’t overbuild:  It can be easy to get caught up in the beauty and want to add more luxuries such as stonework, professional appliances, and custom interior and exterior trim.  However, these features will drive up the building costs.

Great Lakes Carpentry is an independent representative of Timberpeg® and can’t wait to help you get started on your new Timberpeg® home!

Serious Windows: Seriously Energy Efficient

Last week we talked about the benefits of building an Enercept home with SIPS.  Now that your home is going to be properly insulated, the next step is to fill the holes in your  building envelope with Serious Windows.

25-30% of the heat loss in your home goes right through the typical brand name window, which has about an R-2 insulation value.   Serious 25 series fiberglass windows will offer a full frame R-Value between R-3 up to R-11.  Very energy efficient.

R-Value again is a measure of a material’s resistance to heat transfer. The higher the number R-value the more energy efficient.

Each winter Great Lakes Carpentry gets a number of calls from homeowners telling us they have window condensation issues.  This is because the warm, moist air in your house is being drawn towards the glass which is cold, causing condensation. This is just like the when you take a nice cold soda can out of the fridge on a hot humid day. The warm air is drawn to the cold surface resulting in condensation forming on the outside of the can.  This same principle is what is happening to your window during the wintertime.

Another result of poorly insulated windows is the draft that happens. Convection is the air movement that causes a drafty feeling your home.  The warm air that is being drawn towards the cold glass, is cooled, becomes more dense and drops like a stone creating the draft.

Why Serious Windows are Better

– Most window companies never mention the R-Value of their windows, much less the full frame R-value.  If they do mention R-Value it typically related to the center of the glass.  For example, Serious 925 series fiberglass window has a full frame R-value of R-9.1, center of glass is R-14.3.  Serious Windows is very transparent about the R-value of their windows.

– Fiberglass is 3 times stronger than aluminum and 9 times stronger than vinyl windows.

– Serious Windows are four times better than then a typical Energy Star rated window.

– The frame and sash for Serious 25 Series Fiberglass Windows are made of fiberglass, which is the perfect material for this use. Fiberglass is considered to be a “green” material, it does not conduct cold or heat like metal, it is very durable and due to the fact that it’s a glass product, it expands and contracts at the same rate as the glazing unit.

-The frame and sash are foam filled. Which makes them thermally broken, which adds to the full frame r-value. A spacer is used between the glass is foam as well, therefore the glass is thermally broken.

– What sets serious windows apart from the leading brand is the fact that it is built with thin film technology, this creates multiple air chambers. When combined with inert high performance gas such as krypton or xenon, Serious Windows achieve the highest R-values in the industry.

To learn more about Serious Windows visit their website, or feel free to leave a comment and Great Lakes Carpentry can also answer any questions.

Next week we will talk about Timberpeg: Post and Beam.

5 Reasons to Build an Enercept Home

Think about that last scalding hot cup of coffee you bought and how that 1/8 inch foam cup kept your coffee hot and your hand cool.  That is exactly how an Enercept SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) home operates.

We refer to this project as the “Energy SIPPER” which was built in Mercer Wis.

Energy Efficiency

We like to call our SIP Homes “Energy Sippers” because that is exactly what they do.  They use as little energy as possible to heat and cool your home.  This feature will save you 40% to 60% on your energy bills.

Air Tight

SIP homes are very air tight keeping the heat in and the cold out.
Some people are concerned about indoor air quality, but by making a home air tight, you now have complete control of your indoor environment. The home owner can now manage the quality through mechanical ventilation, through the use of a

These are the actual panels before they get dressed up with siding. If you look closely you can see the insulation between the wood panels.

Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) or an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV).  These systems will allow you to manage the humidity in the home and will provide a complete change of air on average every four hours during the winter months.

Quiet and Comfortable

A SIP home doesn’t have any thermal bridging which will keep all the heat in your house during the winter months and keep it nice and cool during the summer.   Another benefit of a SIP home is how quiet the home is.  The insulation will keep all the noise outside where it should be.

Speed of Construction/ Less Waste

A SIP home comes together very quickly due to the fact that the panels are already assembled when they get to the job site.  For example, an 1,800 square foot structure can be assembled in less than a week.   This also equates to less job site waste making this method of building a better for the environment.

Fully Customized

Enercept panels are the most customizable panels on the market.  Meaning you can build the home exactly the way you want it.  For example instead of having your outlets at the typical 16 inch height above the floor, you might prefer to have them up 24 inches.  This will make plugging in your electronics easier.  Enercept panels will allow you to do that easily.

Great Lakes Carpentry is an independent dealer and factory trained installation specialists.  Enercept offers fee panel quotes.

Stop by next week where we discuss Super Insulated Windows:  Serious Windows.