What is ICF?
ICF --- short for Insulated Concrete Forms --- is an innovative
building technology which uses stacked foam blocks filled with poured
concrete. The resulting structures are environmentally friendly
long lasting. To top it all off, a typical ICF project can be
30% of the time required to build a similar structure using
conventional building methods!
What are the advantages?
Structural Integrity: ICF walls
benefit from the inherent structural qualities of concrete. A
typical eight inch ICF wall can withstand winds up to 200 mph,
protecting structures during category five hurricanes, high winds, and
tornadoes. ICF buildings are also fire resistant for up to four
hours longer than traditional buildings, greatly reducing any risk of
accident or arson.
- Economic Benefit: ICF buildings are
constructed at very nearly the same cost as traditional buildings ---
estimates suggest ICF may cost anywhere from 0% to 10% more than
methods. However, long term savings on
energy far outweigh any slight initial increase in building cost.
structures are nearly air-tight, which prevents the dissipation of
air within the structure. The result is extraordinary energy
anywhere from 50% to 90% on heating and cooling costs immediately.
- Indoor Environmental Quality: The
indoor environment is clean and quiet. With no wooden studs to
interrupt insulation in the walls, ICF buildings have a more consistent
indoor temperature. The air-tightness of ICF buildings also keeps
outdoor allergens and pollutants at a minimum --- an important feature
in public buildings like schools and hospitals. Finally,
insulated walls keep ICF buildings almost completely sound proof, a
feature that is much appreciated by students trying to concentrate on
their math problems with the sounds of a busy cafeteria just a wall
typical ICF structure is built using durable and lightweight foam
blocks like those shown above. The blocks are stacked according to
an architect's design, then are well braced to ensure level walls as
concrete is poured into the hollow center.
After the concrete sets, what remains is an astonishingly solid
structure with no joints or gaps between walls and floors. The
air-tightness of ICF structures means that an absolute minimum of
costly conditioned air is allowed to escape the interior of the
structure. Imagine a modern incarnation of the durable and cool
adobes created by Native Americans combined with hundreds of years of
technological innovation. That's ICF!