How To Upgrade Your Cabin For Sustainability

How To Upgrade Your Cabin For Sustainability

June 5, 2022 0 By Frankie Wallace

There are few lifestyles as green as cabin life. You don’t incur the hefty carbon cost of jet-setting around the world and burning local wood in a stove is a great way to reduce your use of non-renewable energy sources.

But, as green as cabin life is, it can still be made that much more sustainable. Green-tech alternatives can help power your space, and environmentally-friendly designed cabins can improve your water efficiency and make better use of natural sunlight.

Upgrading your cabin for sustainability is a big step, but a few strategic changes can make your time holidaying in the cabin that much sweeter.

Solar Panels

In an ideal world, your log cabin should be permanently heated by local, sustainably logged wood and you should spend your evenings reading by candlelight. This Theroux-like vision of cabin life is romantic but, in reality, you probably need to use electricity or gas to boil a kettle, microwave a meal, or simply switch the lights on.

Of course, all cabins are powered differently. Some have the luxury of being connected to the grid, while off-grid cabins are often powered by relatively inefficient generators. So, if you want to enjoy a few luxuries while in the backcountry, but want to cut down your cabin’s carbon footprint, then you should consider making a few eco-friendly upgrades by switching to renewables.

There are plenty of eco-friendly upgrades that suit abodes of all shapes and sizes. Provided that your cabin isn’t tucked away in the dark belly of a forest, you should consider installing solar panels. Solar panels are predicted to produce 13% of the world’s energy by 2030, and you may even receive cash incentives from your state to install solar panels in your cabin. You can also look into things like improved insulation to improve heat retention, and make use of plants that naturally cool your space during hot summer months.

Energy Efficiency

Embracing solar power can reduce your cabin’s overall carbon footprint, but you still need to ensure that you have energy-efficient appliances throughout your home away from home.

Few electrical goods can beat the efficiency of a good wood burner. Burning local timber uses a fraction of the energy required for electricity or oil-based power, but you can hardly use an open flame to power your TV or keep your beverages cool.

Improving the efficiency of your appliances is fairly straightforward. If any of your appliances are more than ten years old, they should probably be replaced. Look for appliances that are Energy Star certified, and consider replacing light bulbs with LED lighting. Even replacing a few key appliances can make a big difference and help you create a more energy-efficient cabin.

leave no trace principles upgrade cabin sustainability(1)

Reducing Your Impact on Local Wildlife

Sustainability is about more than reducing your carbon footprint or avoiding greenhouse gasses. Sustainability also refers to the impact you have on your local environment. Without realizing it, your cabin might cause ecological damage and negatively impact local animals, flora, and fauna.

Reducing your impact on wildlife is particularly important if your cabin doubles as a campground. As a cabin owner, you may feel as though it’s ok to do whatever you like on your patch of land — after all, you probably paid a hefty sum to own your slice of nature. However, campgrounds can damage local environments and even small things like chopping branches for firewood can degrade important wildlife habitats. 

Instead of seeing your cabin as a place to exploit nature’s bounty, try to view yourself as a custodian of the space and follow leave-no-trace principles. This is particularly important if you visit the cabin with groups of friends and family, as you’ll need to be extra vigilant to ensure that larger parties camp responsibly. You can do this by providing easy waste disposal and ensuring that everyone does their bit to clear up before you pack out.

upgrade cabin sustainability(1)Extensions and Upgrades

If your cabin is particularly popular, then you might want to build an extension and add extra living space. Even a small extension can make your cabin that much more pleasant for you and your family. Cabin upgrades are also trending at the moment, as folks are spending more time away from cities and towns.

You can find inspiration for upgrades and extensions by tapping into the top cabin trends today. Large porches with living space are a great intermediary between camping and sleeping indoors, and outdoor kitchens replicate the feel of cooking over a campfire.

When planning an upgrade, try to use low-energy options to keep your cabin sustainable. For example, instead of using concrete or bricks, try to find builders who work with logs or reclaimed materials. Log homes use far less energy than brick and mortar, and repurposed materials can help maintain the integrity of your cabin’s original design while prioritizing sustainability.


Cabins help you reconnect with nature and de-stress from the hustle and bustle of modern life. However, without realizing it, your cabin might take a toll on the local environment and contribute to global warming. You can upgrade your cabin for sustainability by using reclaimed materials for upgrades and by installing solar panels. Always follow leave no trace principles when you venture into the great outdoors and consider delivered firewood instead of logging your own. 

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