Homes built to last a lifetime
Building with energy efficiency in mind is an industry trend that is here to stay. Between rising energy requirements and utility costs, homeowners need practical ways to save money and increase the lifespan of their homes. One strategy that continues to gain momentum is building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), energy efficient blocks made of expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) foam that stack like Legos to shape of the walls of a building.
Why 'Wood' You?
If you ever feel like you’re always cranking up the heat or air conditioning in your house, insulation gaps in your wood-framed structure may be to blame. Thermal bridging is a major source of energy loss in your home, which means that if you crank up the heat to stay warm, your energy bill will be higher. A home energy audit will usually be able to tell you if that’s the real issue.
For many years, wood has been the most popular option for homebuilding. ICFs, however, are growing as a preferred choice due to their supreme efficiency level and sustainability. According to recent research, ICFs provide up to a 58 percent energy savings when compared to wood frame construction.
If you’re still comparing ICFs to wood, you might want to look at R-value, the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. Essentially, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. ICF structures typically have a much higher R-value than wood-framed homes, which can vary (if framed with 2 x 4 lumber, the R-value ranges from R-13 to R-15, while 2 x 6 framed homes have R-values of R-19 to R-21). Meanwhile, ICF homes can create a R-value of R-20 to R-28 for the lifetime of the home – much better!
Staggering efficiency supported by research
A recent side-by-side test proved that ICFs can be almost seven times more effective at maintaining indoor air temperature than wood under extreme cold conditions. The test, which set the exterior at -31 degrees and interior at 70 degrees, was designed to determine how long it would take for the outside wall and inside wall to become the same temperature. The wood-frame structure reached the same temperature inside and outside within just 48 hours, while the ICF building did not reach this ‘steady state’ for 324 hours.
Most of us don’t live in an environment that reaches -31 degrees, but we all know that changing temperatures from season to season, and day to night can affect our level of comfort in a home.
Easily achieve LEED
If you want to certify your home as energy efficient, there are different ways to do so, like seeking a better HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score or a higher rating with LEED. When combined with other energy efficient methods, ICFs can significantly contribute to a higher LEED rating.
Building a home is a large investment, so choosing products that are highly efficient and durable is crucial. ICFs offer a new standard in efficiency and resiliency to ensure every home is built to last a lifetime.
For more information about building with NUDURA Insulated Concrete Forms, visit www.nudura.com.