If you’ve been considering building a home, you’ve likely been given the option of using ICF. ICF, or insulating concrete forms, are a fairly new type of building material that combines traditional concrete with foam insulation. This building technique is being utilized now more than ever before as it’s seen as a great way to go green when building a new home.
Better Energy Efficiency
One very unique factor about using ICF over traditional stick-built homes is the ICF is more energy efficient. To understand stand why it’s easiest to put it in terms of the insulation rating. A typical stick-built home foundation is given an R-value of 9. The ICF foundations, on the other hand, can be given an R-value of between 17 and 26. That’s a huge difference in the amount of insulation for the ICF home. This will save a lot of money for the homeowner when it comes to heating and cooling bills.
More Secure Foundation
Natural disasters and other weather-related issues happen to homes all the time. Homes that aren’t built with a secure foundation will have trouble resisting these weather elements. This can result in damaged home materials that need to be replaced more often. When you opt for ICF, you know that you’re getting a secure foundation. It will withstand rain, hail, fire, high winds, and earthquakes. This results in less concrete pumping and replacement of a home’s foundation after a natural disaster occurs.
ICF Is Made from Recycled Materials
While building with ICF can help your home to be greener than most, that’s not where its benefits end. The ICF blocks are actually made of about 60 percent of recycled materials. And, the steel that is used for the rebar reinforcements is made from about 99 percent of recycled metal. Just choosing to utilize ICF as the main building component for your home, you save more natural resources from being used up on the construction site.
They Require Little Maintenance
Unlike traditional stick-built homes, ICF homes require little maintenance on the part of the homeowner. Since the ICF materials will withstand the natural process of aging and weather disasters, there is less of a need to use new materials to fix repair issues. Little maintenance means less money out of pocket for the homeowner and less natural resources used over the life of the house for repairs.
Building a home out of ICF is a great step towards being more environmentally-friendly. It’s important to realize that ICF is manufactured from recycled materials from the start, so you can feel good about your decision from step one. You can also enjoy the other various green benefits of ICF over the lifetime of owning your home.
Anita Ginsburg, the author, is a freelance writer.