HOME & BUILDING OWNERS
ICF got it’s start in post-World War II Europe and later gained popularity in Canada and the United States. However, with so many irrefutable benefits, it is only a matter of time until most buildings are constructed using insulated concrete forms. As a residential homeowner or commercial business, there are three questions you should be asking yourself:
1. What are the structural advantages?
Energy Efficiency: The most commonly touted benefit of ICF construction is the marked energy efficiency of the structure, largely due to what is called “thermal mass”, or the ability of a material to prevent against temperature fluctuations. The combination of the insulating value of EPS and concrete helps keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Disaster Resistance: Mother Nature can be unforgiving and cause catastrophic damage to our homes and businesses. Be prepared for the next super storm by investing in the disaster resistant qualities of your home. ICF delivers a higher level of safety in extreme wind, storm, fire, and mold.
Comfort & Sound: Insulated concrete forms allow for greater air quality control by reducing the “air leakage” of a building, an advantage you can actually feel. The ICF barrier leads to an overall boost in comfort and sound, so you can breathe easily and sleep peacefully.
Pest Prevention: Unlike wood, expanded polystyrene is not a food source for termites and other insects and rodents. Therefore, with the proper barriers in place, ICF offers an increased level of pest prevention.
2. What are the environmental advantages?
Lower Emissions: In studies of cumulative lifecycle (including construction, operation, and demolition), ICF homes produced lower emissions than traditional building methods. They found that the longer you reside there, the more profound the effect on the environment is.
Save Trees: Deforestation continues to be controversial issue, but a home constructed with concrete uses much less wood, and therefore saves trees.
Recycle: What happens to all of the debris after demolition? ICF makes it easy to recycle. Polystyrene can be made into new foam goods; steel rebar can be used in new construction projects; and recycled concrete is added to aggregate – an essential ingredient in new concrete.
3. What are the financial advantages?
Lower Energy Bills: An efficiently constructed home yields significant energy savings. Build with ICF and watch your annual energy bills go down.
Less Maintenance: Reduced repair costs will help keep your wallet full. Being able to withstand everyday wear and tear as well as severe conditions means maintenance is kept to a minimum. In fact, the life expectancy of an ICF home can be many centuries with a very low degree of upkeep.
Tax Credits & Resale: ICF homes may be eligible for tax credits – so be sure to check if those apply to you. And once you are ready to move on or relocate, you can bank on a higher resale value.
Once you have made the decision to build with ICF, you should seek out a contractor that has experience using it. Contact us to put you in touch with a recommended builder. Though some may have a preferred system, insist on insulaform. Unlike other ICF systems, our simple 3-component solution allows you to build walls from R-22 to R-55 with relative ease and a low margin of error. The end result: a better home for your family or your business.
BUILDERS & PROJECT MANAGERS
Projects vary greatly from one situation to the next. However, builders both large and small ultimately aim to achieve the highest level of performance at the lowest possible cost. ICF offers benefits on both sides of the equation.
Resilient: Insulated concrete structures are literally rock-solid. When simulating extreme weather conditions such as strong winds and earthquakes, ICF walls proved to be extremely resilient. Build with ICF and build something that will last centuries.
Precise: Insulated concrete panels are often compared to Lego blocks because of how perfectly pieces stack and fit together. The system is incredibly precise and accurate, ensuring the final structure is built exactly to specification.
Flexible: One of the biggest advantages for builders is how flexible ICF can be. It makes quick work of simple designs, but can also be used for far more complex architectures.
Labor & Equipment: A solution that is simpler and faster will not require as many workers or supporting materials. So by choosing to build with ICF, you wisely save on labor and equipment. It also helps you place the right size order for your entire job from the onset.
Waste Management: Any excess pieces of EPS foam that had to be cut off can be reused at later stages of the project or recycled. ICF building systems are proven to be less wasteful than other methods of construction.
In order to maximize performance and minimize cost, builders and their teams should be adequately trained in the methods of ICF construction. Please refer to our Technical Library for the published resources on training and support.
We designed Insula with the builder in mind. What are your greatest challenges? What are your biggest costs? We understand – we too have been in ICF construction for over ten years. Our simple 3-component system aims to put those concerns to rest by making material take-off and ordering easy. By virtue of being knock-down forms, transportation costs and storage issues are kept to a minimum. Also, we intentionally designed insulaform to be very lightweight, so a single worker can easily carry 80 square feet of wall around the job site. If you need periodic support, Insula Building Systems is dedicated to providing you with the highest level of assistance, so feel free to reach out to us with any questions.
ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS
“Simple. More concrete is produced than any other material on Earth. In the foreseeable future, there is no other material that can replace concrete to meet our societies’ needs for housing, schools, and infrastructure.”
–MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub
The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub was formed in 2009 to develop breakthroughs in sustainable building methods. They focus primarily on materials science, buildings and pavements, and economics and the environment. The fact that this prestigious institution is committed to such research, including insulated concrete forms, suggests it should be a topic of great interest to architects and engineers alike.
Total Lifecycle Cost: The lifetime operating costs of most buildings greatly outweigh the costs of initial construction. It is therefore the responsibility of engineers and architects to pursue ICF as a sustainable building method to reduce the total cost to the project and to the environment.
Market Penetration: It’s no surprise that the global ICF market is estimated to grow at an annual compound rate of 27.5% according to a September 2015 report by market research firm Mordor Intelligence. The protection, insulation, and comfort qualities it delivers must be a key consideration in our planning and design.
Versatile Design: As a construction material, they are conveniently flexible in that they can be used to achieve any architectural design. All interior and exterior finishes are possible, as well as beautiful curves, angles, and arches that set a building apart.
LEED Certification: The energy performance, waste management, and recyclable properties of insulated concrete forms all contribute majorly towards earning LEED certified ratings on your projects. Even if it is not a requirement, ICF is a great way to take advantage of the mounting green building trend.
insulaform comes standard as a knock-down panel. The level of flexibility this offers is undeniable. The added fact that there is absolutely no embedded plastic in our product makes it uniquely versatile, lightweight, and easy to use and cut. Visit our Products page to learn more. Most of the ICF options available today share the same high-level benefits that make them a great choice. When choosing which brand to use, people may value different things. It comes down to a balance between price, specific product specifications, and trust. Insula Building Systems strives to compete across each of those considerations, which is why we guide ourselves by the credo “Simply Useful”.