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Insulated Concrete Forms Construction
Many builders and homeowners assume that green engineering will automatically cost more upfront than traditional home design and remodeling, but this is not necessarily the case. As with any professional services, construction becomes expensive when the business you hire to provide the service is not wholly familiar with how and where to acquire the appropriate materials and subcontracting. In the hands of a skilled and experienced engineer with longstanding relationships in the construction industry, such as the team at PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc., sustainable construction is an extremely cost-effective way to build.
One example of a material that can provide tremendous functional and cost-savings benefits is the insulated concrete forms (ICF), which are foam concrete forms that interlock and are filled with rebar and concrete. These structures allow for a great deal of design flexibility, and are long-lasting, durable building materials that are growing in popularity among green home builders.
While ICF may cost slightly more at the outset, the Insulated Concrete Forms advantages in construction provide a number of benefits over traditional concrete block construction. First, insulated concrete forms result in a building that cost less to heat and cool over the life of the building, due to superior insulation properties. The material does not decay and offers the occupant extremely high degrees of wind, fire, insect and impact resistance.
Due to wildfires in the Western United States, specifically California, the popularity of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) engineering has grown dramatically in recent years. Despite the increased costs, the advantages and benefits of building a fire-resistant home really are endless. Learn more about how PSE can help make ICF’s below. See the many ways we have helped others by viewing our innovative and sustainable projects.
Building with Structural Insulated Panel Design
Another alternative in wall and roof construction is the structural insulated panel (you’ll commonly see them referred to as SIPs). SIPs are constructed of oriented strand board frames that are filled with insulating foam. As with ICFs, structural insulated panel construction offers superior heating and cooling efficiencies, lower long-term operational costs, exceptional durability and design flexibility. Both ICFs and SIPs can be used with less site disturbance than traditional construction methods and result in a lower volume of construction waste.
Concrete is Green for the following reasons:
- Long service Life
- Plant-controlled Production maximizes the use of recycled materials such as fly ash, slag, silica fume, crushed concrete
- Most of the ingredients are inert and require less energy to produce than wood and steel products
- The inherent thermal mass of the concrete can be incorporated into building system to conserve energy
- Continuous material, conceals the building with no leaks
- Save up to 60% on utilities bills with the use of insulated form
Why build with Insulated Concrete Form, ICF?
ICF will provide up to 50% saving on heating and cooling costs. If you save $50/month, at 8% interest rate, How much do you think you will accumulate in 30 years? You will save $75,000!
Fire Resistance: Non-combustible self extinguishing materials. Concrete will not burn.
Non-combustible Can sustain flooding with no structural or mold damage.
ICF has a high mass substrate and is not susceptible to:
- Dry rot
Wind Resistance Walls can be reinforced to a much higher degree as required to meet local wind speed and earthquake zone classifications –
- Designed to withstand winds up to 250mph
- ICF provide greater impact resistance than wood frame or even concrete block
- Wall design principle is a monolithic structural concrete wall (Up to 9x stronger than a wood framed wall)
- ICF deliver superior performance to wood or steel framed walls in terms of – structural, thermal, air/moisture barrier, and acoustic capabilities
- Solid concrete provides substantially better defense against all natural elements including hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, etc. Resulting structure exceeds all code requirements for tornado and hurricane prone areas
- Resulting structure exceeds all code requirements for tornado and hurricane prone areas
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- How to Begin Green Home Designs with PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc.