ICF Design, Green Construction, and LEED

What’s Different About Building With ICFs?

The ICF design flexibility of BuildBlock ICFs is unmatched. BuildBlock ICF will allow your imagination to run wild when building your next structure. Designing a structure using BuildBlock ICFs is very straightforward and not much different than designing any other structure. There are really two main differences to keep in mind. The walls will be thicker and if converting from traditionally framed plans, you’ll need to center line the walls and grow them to the outside to maintain interior dimensions. An ICF wall is composed of 5 main elements:

  • The ICF form itself which contains the Class II Vapor Barrier
  • R22 Insulation
  • an insulated stud every 6″ on center
  • the structural concrete core
  • interior and exterior wall finishes

Other than extremely lower utility bills and almost non-existent noise from the outside, an ICF home appears very much the same as any other home or building. Because ICF walls are comprised of solid concrete, steel reinforcement, and foam insulation; finished walls are thicker and so are the door jambs and window sills. Special care is taken when waterproofing below ground during the construction phase to use materials that won’t degrade the foam. In home design, the overall square footage of the house is typically increased to make up for the difference taken up by thicker walls and to keep room sizes larger.

The roof size will be slightly larger to support the larger dimensions and while the geometry of the roof will stay the same, ridge heights will increase slightly. The foundation of the home may change some as well. The ICF design creates a strong, sturdy structure that will be standing for generations to come.

BuildBlock has a dedicated technical staff to answer any questions as well as connect you with our network of designers, architects, and distributors across the country and around the world to ensure your ICF project goes smoothly.


Free BuildBlock Online ICF Training Courses Available Now!

ICFs are flexible and can easily be used in any design.

BuildBlock Interior Wall Model

ICFs are extremely adaptable to any design, making them an architect’s dream!

The polystyrene foam used to make ICFs is an easy material to cut and brace which makes forming any angle or curve an easy accomplishment. BuildBlock ICFs are designed with a patented measuring tape and cut lines built into each block so it’s even easier to achieve your desired shape. Whether you’re building a house, school, or a safe room, ICFs are an incredibly versatile building material and can be used for any design without hassle.

In addition to design flexibility, traditional finishes including vinyl or wood siding, stucco, rock, and brick are all easily applied meaning an ICF house can look just like a traditional home if you want.

Because ICFs are some of the most versatile building materials available, you can have unique footprints, arches, angles, and curves as part of your design at a lower construction cost than with traditional building methods.

Building with ICFs always looks this good.

Each of these designs were built using BuildBlock ICFs. Any size, any style, all yours forever.

ICFs are truly green construction

BuildBlock ICFs deliver proven energy-efficiency and disaster resilience. They reduce the amount of construction materials needed to build structures and ensure that you build it once and it performs for generations with no loss of efficiency and significantly reduced maintenance.

ICFs offer long-term, eco-friendly benefits and building with ICFs uses less resources, produces less waste, and keeps your energy costs low.

It’s now more important than ever that we work to conserve natural resources and reduce waste and pollution. That’s why “green” has become the new buzzword in the construction industry and for good reason. The construction practices of the past are unsatisfactory and simply unacceptable for the world today and especially the world tomorrow. ICFs have created a way to build that greatly reduces the amount of natural resources needed and also found ways to reduce waste and pollution during construction.

  • Independent testing proves that ICFs deliver 54% more energy efficiency than traditional wood-framed homes.
  • The ICF concrete core acts as free heating or cooling based on ground temperature.
  • ICF walls stabilize temperature for 144 hours
  • Building the exterior walls with ICFs saves at least 10 trees.
  • The enormous reduction in energy use — 45% to 55%* — saves our natural resources.
  • The energy savings also result in less carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere on an ongoing basis.
  • BuildBlock ICF blocks result in less construction waste, cleaner job sites, and straighter walls.
  • BuildBlock ICFs contain no HCFC, formaldehyde, asbestos, or fiberglass. ICFs are made using steam so no harmful CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are used, nor is there any degree of “off-gassing.”

Green isn’t just a buzzword when you’re talking about ICFs. 


Green Building, LEED Certification, and ICFs

Environmentally-responsible construction isn’t just a trend. Green building is picking up momentum as more and more public and private building owners
demand high-performance, earth-friendly construction methods, and materials.

Sustainable construction may take a little more effort and money up front, but this is truly outweighed by the lasting benefits and long-term savings for the building owner and the environment alike. And the fact is, as “green building” becomes the norm, its practicality and affordability will increase.  It just takes forward-thinking, concerned home buyers, homebuilders, developers, contractors, and architects to pioneer and establish its practice.

The ongoing energy use of a building is probably the single greatest environmental impact of that building and continues to impact the environment for decades, even centuries. So the opportunity to choose a building material — like insulating concrete forms — which can significantly decrease its energy consumption, shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Can’t you spare a little change for Mother Nature? The future will thank you. The lower utilities costs and increased comfort will reward you.

Design Flexibility and Green Construction October 8, 2012