ICFs Help Meet Tougher Energy Codes

CodeWatcher Nudura

Here are five reasons why you should be using ICFs for high-performance homes.

Progressive builders of homes and commercial buildings have been championing the use of pre-assembled interlocking concrete forms, known as ICFs, for the past several years as a replacement for wood framing due to their countless advantages. This system is regarded worldwide as the premium choice for construction delivering building efficiencies, superior strength, insulation, conservation and unmatched energy efficiency.

It’s remarkable to note, however, that some builders still have not adopted this method, finding it difficult to break away from yesterday’s standard especially when you consider the new building code requirements for energy efficiency.

According to Keven Rector at NUDURA, a manufacturer of insulated concrete forms, NUDURA’s advanced ICF design combines two panels of thick (EPS) foam with the structural strength and thermal mass of concrete. The resulting envelope immediately gives a house hurricane wind-resistance up to 250 miles per hour.

Concrete walls also deliver an energy efficiency rating as high as R-50 (compared to an average R-20 in wood structures) saving you up to 60 percent on utility bills.”

Here are the 5 reasons builders should consider choosing ICF construction:

  1. Speed and ease of assembly. The product is lightweight and easy to assemble, which reduces labor costs for assembly. There are no forms to strip after concrete in place.
  2. Waste reduction. Wood forming material is dramatically reduced resulting in a reduction of material sent to the land fill. EPS waste can be easily recycled at your local recycle transfer station.
  3. Warm, musty-free basements. The EPS material of the ICF form eliminates any moisture from diffusing through to interior areas. The diffusion of vapor is what can lead to that musty basement smell we all know and certainly do not love about our basements.
  4. Durability. Because the basement rooms stay dry, mold and mildew can’t grow. Better curing in the ICF form provides strength and means less chance of cracking or failure as a result of a poor cure. Plus, the concrete can safely be poured in cold weather as the EPS panels insulate the concrete against freezing. (Consult your engineer or batch plant before pouring concrete in below freezing conditions.)
  5. Energy efficiency. ICF’s high effective insulation value meets the new energy requirements being introduced into building codes across North America. Effective insulation or real thermal resistance. (R24.1, depending on manufacturer.) Using ICFs will get you to a near net zero energy or net zero energy standard, a standard which is now being mandated in California.

Find more information online at nudura.com.