ICFs Named Most Sustainable Building System
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently named ICFs as the best building material for sustainable construction.
The study, titled A Life-cycle Assessment-Based Approach Preventing Waste from Residential Building,was completed in conjunction with the Oregon Home Builders Association, Quantis, and Earth Advantage Institute. The goal of the project was to identify building techniques and materials that offer the greatest environmental benefit.
The report examined energy use and waste generation across a residential structure’s entire lifecycle: construction, occupancy, maintenance, and end-of-life disposal. Of the 25 building practices evaluated, ICFs ranked third, behind “multifamily housing” and “building a smaller home.” That makes ICFs the top-ranked building material in the study. Straw-bale construction placed fourth, followed by “design using salvaged materials” and SIPs.
One reason ICFs placed so highly in the study is that the use and occupancy of a structure accounts for 80% of its total environmental impact. Reducing energy use over the anticipated 70-year life of the home has a far greater impact than any other single factor.
For more information on the Oregon DEQ report, download it here.
BASF’s Wall Systems Combines with SpecMix
The Wall Systems business of BASF Corporation has created a joint marketing agreement with SpecMix. The program enables contractors to combine the advantages of BASF’s stucco finishes and reinforcing base coats with computer-batched SpecMix Fiber Base Coat (FBC) stucco.
The hybrid systems are covered by a single source warranty. The durations of the single source warranties range up to 15 years, depending upon the system configuration.
For additional information, visit www.wallsystems.basf.com or call your local Wall Systems distributor at BASF.
LEED-Certified Projects Surpass One Billion SF
In November, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that the number of commercial projects certified under their LEED Green Building Rating System surpassed one billion square feet. Another six billion square feet of projects are registered and working toward LEED certification around the world.
“The impact of these one billion square feet can be seen in communities around the world,” said Peter Templeton, President of the Green Building Certification Institute, the certifying body for LEED projects. “The use of LEED represents a growing global commitment to improving our built environment for future generations.”
Since it was first introduced to the marketplace in 2000, over 36,000 commercial projects and 38,000 single-family homes have participated in LEED. By consuming less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to healthier environments for residents, workers and the community.
132-Home Net-Zero ICF Community Underway
An entire neighborhood of net-zero ICF homes is under construction in Northern Illinois. Called Prairie Ridge Estates, the development is situated about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.
Regan’s chose to build the homes’ exterior walls with Logix’s Platinum Series ICF, which uses BASF’s graphite-enhanced Neopor foam.
The wood-frame roofs will be insulated with spray-in urethane foam. Combined with energy-efficient windows, appliances, and LED lighting, the homes will use 80% less energy compared to a traditional wood-framed home.
Geothermal heating and cooling, combined with solar and wind electrical generation are expected to meet those needs, ensuring each home will average zero energy use over the course of year. The houses will be connected to the electrical grid.
Regan expects home in the development will be priced competitively with those in nearby subdivisions after federal tax credits are taken into account. As planned, they’re expected to be certified LEED-Gold; upgrades to reach LEED-Platinum are available.
“Economically this is the smartest thing to do,” Regan says.
For more information, visit the development’s website www.prairieridgehomes.com.
Airlite Plastics Reaches Litigation Settlement
Airlite Plastics Co., the Omaha-based maker of Fox Blocks ICFs, has reached an agreement with Polyform A.G.P. and Nudura Corp. to settle litigations in the United States and Canada. Pursuant to the settlement, Fox Blocks ICF products may be manufactured, sold, resold, and used free of any allegation that the current Fox Blocks ICF products infringe any patents owned by Polyform or Nudura.
he Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched an ongoing research initiative called the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, with the goal of producing verifiable data on the cradle-to-grave environmental costs of concrete, both as a paving and building material.
Led by MIT professor John Ochsendorf, researchers have confirmed that more than 90% of residential building life-cycle carbon emissions occur during use and occupancy. Based on that finding, they recently began another study to quantify the potential energy savings of ICF construction in the residential sector.
The results—expected in mid August—are expected to show how ICF’s thermal mass, continuous insulation, and reduced air infiltration work together to decrease carbon emissions when compared to traditional wood-frame construction.
MIT is scheduled to follow these findings with a study that will examine the economic costs of sustainable concrete construction.
“The life-cycle model we are developing will combine the best data on the full range of costs – construction, maintenance, reconstruction, user, direct, and indirect – with a time frame that reflects the real world life of pavements and building materials,” said Ochsendorf.
For more information, visit web.mit.edu/cshub.
ICF Builder Award Winners 2010
The 2010 ICF Builder Awards have been announced. The winning projects, represent the very finest ICF buildings built in the last few years. They have set a higher standard for the entire industry through their complexity, site challenges, exposure, and other factors.
Winners were officially announced at the ICF Builder Award Presentation, an evening event held in January 2011 in conjunction with the World of Concrete. This year's event attracted more than 200 people from all segments of the ICF industry, and was a great opportunity to network, socialize, and meet new contacts.
For additional facts, project profiles, and dozens of outstanding photographs of the winning projects visit www.builderawards.com.
Project Profiles: The Multifamily Winners
The three winning projects below showcase the fact that ICF construction can be used for virtually any type of multifamily construction.
Wolf Springs Resort
Wolf Springs Resort, located midway between Montreal and Toronto, is a different concept in vacation condos. It offers owners luxury cottage-living without the worry and work normally associated with private cottage ownership.
ICFs are an important part of that claim due to their fire resistance, soundproofing, energy savings and sustainability.
Read the Complete Profile Here
Oak Haven Development
When Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in 2005, the city of Waveland, Miss., was decimated. The Bay-Waveland Housing Authority was left without housing for 700 children, adults and senior citizens in need of affordable housing.
Oak Haven Development was built to remedy this situation. It consists of 80 homes—a ll ICF—designed to withstand a Category 5 storm, while remaining faithful to Gulf Coast architectural traditions.
» Read the Complete Profile Here
Villa Rose Condominiums
Villa Rose Condominiums in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia proves that ICFs can achieve what would otherwise be impossible. Located on Vancouver Island, humidity, rain, and cold winters take a toll on frame construction.
The architecture was so complex that the structural engineer was at his wit’s end to come up with solutions that made sense. Demising walls between units were specified to be ICF, but he was faced with four different floor configurations stacked one on the other. The load transfer from the roof to the parkade would change on every floor.
The finished building has 44 corners on the main level, 97 on the second, and 146 corners on the third level.
» Read the Complete Profile Here
History of ICFs
In 1967 Werner Gregori patented the first ICF in North America. In the fall of 2010, Mr. Gregori invited me to his home in Southern Ontario, where we spent a pleasant afternoon talking about his pioneering efforts that launched an industry, and what the past 40 years of ICF construction can tell us about the future.
» Read the Complete Story Here
Vibration and ICFs is an area that generates significant controversy. Too little can cause voids, rock pockets, honeycombing, and poor bonding with the rebar. On the other hand, excessive vibration can create bulged walls and blowouts
How much vibration does an ICF wall need, and what is the best way to do it? Suitable mix design and correct placement technique are critical, but are not discussed in this article. For more information on these topics, see Proper Concrete Placement in the February ’06 issue of this magazine.
A landmark 2003 PCA study provides some guidance. Additional information and equipment developed since then provide additional insight.
» Read the Complete Story Here
Update on the Competition: Tilt-Up By Pieter VanderWerf
I’d like to tell what I learned about competitive wall systems: I’ll start with one that’s starting to butt heads with ICFs more and more. That’s tilt-up construction.
Using techniques such as sandwich walls, stack casting, and new finishes, they are moving beyond their bix-box stronghold to build schools, multifamily residential and hotel/motel around 3-5 stories, churches, and mid-sized retail.