Want to build a high efficiency home, don't know where to begin? How about considering building a home out of ICF's? What are ICF's? Insulated Concrete Forms!
Okay, so what is that? Well, in the basic form it looks like Styrofoam blocks (large Lego blocks) that you put together then pour concrete in the middle. You use rebar and must only pour the concrete four feet high at a time before it needs to set, then you can pour more and so on, until you get to the height you need.
When, I worked on the Habitat for Humanity projects, we used the ICF system to build several homes. The insulation factor is much greater, the strength is very high and the structure can withstand high winds if built properly. Below is a list of the benefits of using ICF.
Better Energy Efficiency & Environmental Responsibility
- Strong, effective insulation quality provides energy efficiency far superior to other building materials.
- Low air infiltration through finished ICF wall
- Permanent performance with no downgrading over time
- Shifts thermal loading from peak periods
- This level of energy efficiency reduces dependence on fossil fuels and represents a sound, proven green building practice.
Better Durability & Improved Safety
- High wind resistant
- Fire rated assembly
- Strength is permanent
- Will not rot or decay
- Resistant to termites (the concrete)
- Impact resistant (the concrete)
- Low maintenance requirements
- Building structures to last hundreds of years
More Cost Savings
- Lower cost to heat and cool providing energy savings that provides monthly dividends for decades to come
- Tax incentives due to energy efficiency
- Lower property insurance rates (in some areas)
- Reduced HVAC requirements
- Higher home resale value
Enhanced Comfort & Health Benefits
- Extremely quiet
- Naturally comfortable temperature
- Fox Blocks walls, due to their inherent performance as an effective air barrier, provide a building envelope that can be more easily designed to provide improved interior air quality with an appropriate HVAC system
- The Fox Blocks wall system is not a cavity wall system. The building materials used in the Fox Blocks wall assemblies are stable in high moisture environments, and are not conducive to rot or to the growth of mold or mildew
- Non-toxic materials
- No toxic products are off-gassed, however, for a short time after the ICF is made, small amounts of pentane are released
- Peace of mind during high wind events as testing has confirmed that ICF walls provide enhanced resistance to penetration by wind blown debris
- Design versatility
- Energy efficient
- Structurally capable
- Block reversibility minimizes construction waste
- Sound deadening
- Quick installation (depends on experience of installer)
- Most interior and external wall finishes can be readily installed and attached to the furring strips embedded in the EPS panels
- Fully code accepted cast-in-place concrete walls
- ICFs are time tested and proven
Here are a few manufacturers you may want to consider in using ICF's. Check them out!
So, would you build a home out of ICF's?