Buidling Green: Insulated concrete forms

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker High Country

INSULATED CONCRETE FORMS

Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are an energy efficient and affordable option for new home/building construction. ICFs are interconnected units that are assembled and filled with concrete to form the frame of a building. There are numerous benefits to ICFs. They are energy efficient, sound resistant, water resistant, and flame resistant. The foundations of ICF homes have sheltered and reinforced concrete that will not crack or leak, because they do not absorb moisture. The concrete also has high wind and seismic resistance, making them a popular choice for residents in areas susceptible to natural disasters like hurricanes, wild fires, and earthquakes.  ICFs also reduce the amount of air permeation into the home, thus removing the potential for mold, moisture, and outside allergen issues.

Estimated Cost Savings:
On average, ICF homes cost more in upfront installation costs than traditional wood framed homes. However, over time, the operations and maintenance cost savings are significant. Costs are reduced or paid back in a number of ways through lower monthly energy bills, an eliminated need for insulation, lower insurance costs, low maintenance costs, and a greater resale value on the home. Due to ICFs� ability to  keep the cold air out in the winter and the hot air out in the summer, lower heating and cooling bills are very common, often providing savings up to 50% - 80%.

Issues:
It is important to note that air infiltration in typical ICF homes is sometimes less than a traditional wood framed home. This occurs because air leaks through concrete are very rare. While this is good news in terms of energy savings, a "tight" home does reduce the exchange of fresh air and indoor air.  It is very common for homeowners to install a fresh air exchanger or other systems to combat this issue.

Regional Issues:
ICF walls are designed to endure winds up to 200 miles per hour; in addition concrete is a fireproof material. Due to this, ICF houses are a popular choice for people living in areas prone to natural disasters such as wild fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  

Installation (Getting It Done):
Almost any home can be a candidate for ICF construction. The walls are installed in a similar manner as wood framed walls.

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Rainer
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Scott Benson
Geneva Real Estate and Finance - Santa Monica, CA
I have an uncle in Maine that built his home with the insulated concrete and he raves about it.  No drafts, no cold spots, tremendouse energy savings. He loves it
Apr 11, 2008 02:13 AM #1
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