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Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) is revolutionizing the global building industries for residential, commercial, and institutional developments.

Currently, ICF construction makes up approximately 6% of new residential construction in USA and is growing rapidly.

ICF provide the best living environment because it can easily build safer, more comfortable & environmentally friendly homes and commercial buildings.

ICF walls & ICF floors/roofs form solid, reinforced concrete buildings and stay in place to provide superior insulation, space to run utilities, and backing for finishes.

Building with ICF is gaining momentum over other building methods because of its unparalleled comfort, energy efficiency, and safety ratings at comparable costs.

A major consulting company, McKinsey & Company, studied the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

They found that biodiesel, carbon capture and storage, and many other measures have high costs to reduce emissions compared to ‘business as usual.’

They also notice that better building insulation, lighting systems, air-conditioning, and water heating are among the most cost-effective measures – all with long-term net income (not costs) over ‘business as usual.’

However they found that improved building insulation has the highest income.

What is ICF?

insulating concrete forms

insulating concrete forms (Photo credit: Frameform)

ICF are forms or mould that has built-in insulation for accepting reinforced concrete.

The first patent application for an ICF was registered in the late 1960’s.  Since then, ICF have been fast-becoming the mainstream preferred building product worldwide.

These large, hollow blocks are stacked right off of the truck and filled with reinforcing bar and concrete.

The end result leaves you with a high-performing wall that is structurally sound, insulated, strapped, has a vapour barrier and is ready to accept final exterior and interior finishes.

Using ICF has a lot of benefits.

Comfort – Nothing blows through reinforced concrete.  There will be absolutely no drafts or cold spots.  ICF homeowners have commented on how constant temperatures stay within their homes.

Safe & Healthy – There are no chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), or formaldehydes, and also no wood to rot and mould.  ICF are the answer for allergy and asthma sufferers.  They have a two-hour fire rating and are termite and pest resistant.  But most importantly, these structures can withstand a severe storm hit.

Flexibility in Design – Reinforced concrete has tremendous proven design capabilities.  ICF wall systems can support concrete floor and roof systems and give the ultimate in innovative design.

Quiet – Outside noises are eliminated.

Energy Efficiency – Homes built with ICF exterior walls require an estimated 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than comparable frame houses.  Consequently, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can be downsized.  Since floor systems are hung on the inside of the wall, real energy savings come when you design above-grade, thereby eliminating a huge heat loss area in conventional housing.

ICF walls provide safe shelter from severe storms

Once a structure is built with ICF there is no comparison to typical frame or block construction.  Comparing the benefits and features to typical frame construction, there are no true comparisons between the two.  Both ICF and traditional methods of construction perform the same requirements for most structures, but ICF performance criteria are significantly greater than traditional methods.

ICF’s have one limitation compare to concrete block construction…It requires the application of a durable finish material whereas concrete block can be painted or left bare.

The cost of ICF is typically more compare to more traditional methods of construction for the actual construction, but the cost of ownership of an ICF structure is significantly less than the more traditional methods.

In nearly every documented case of the cost of an ICF structure, the return on investment (ROI) for the extra construction cost is within 5 years with many showing less than 3 years.

Source : quadlock.com & icfhomes.com

(this article written for 1BINA.my)