The Lasting Effects of ICFs
An ICF Home – The first ten years
In 2004, BuildBlock Building Systems was founded offering a better way to build with Insulating Concrete Forms and related products, making installation quick and easy. We know that ICFs create a wall system that outperforms any other, but let’s be honest, we’re a little biased. That’s why we love sharing the stories of people who build, live, and work in BuildBlock ICF structures.
Life Long Benefits
We recently had an opportunity to talk with Fred Scott, an ICF homeowner who has lived in his BuildBlock house for nearly a decade. We were excited to chat with him since he is able to offer thoughts from a unique perspective, having spent 9 years in his ICF home.
Before building his ICF home, Fred lived in a wood framed townhouse in Texas. His energy bills were high even after adding additional insulation and a new heat pump. He complained that “noise was also an issue”, so when he moved back to Indiana he was excited to remedy many of these issues with a new custom home.
Mr. Scott’s home is a modest 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with an attached garage in Bedford, Indiana. He used BuildBlock’s 8” forms for all exterior walls. The wood roof is securely attached to the ICFs with extra strong 1,600lb hurricane straps and finished inside with over 20-inches of blown cellulose insulation.
Small Changes, Big Results
During several conversations, we asked lots of questions and really wanted to know what really stood out over the years. The first thing he wanted to make sure we knew was that he was very satisfied with the finished product and the home has performed even better than he hoped. Very pleased with the end result and thoroughly impressed with ICFs ability to dampen sound, he went on to say:
“One major thing I’ve noticed is that the home is so quiet, the noise from outside is greatly diminished. I would say if I had an ICF roof I wouldn’t hear any noise.”
This home has also produced exceptional results when it comes to energy efficiency. Fred’s home is performing far better than other homes in the area. Even better than homes that qualify as “energy efficient homes”. In a recent energy use statement from Duke Energy, the home used 317-kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the course of a month. The average “efficient home” in the area used 619 kWh.
The chart below is extremely telling. Fred’s ICF home consistently uses less energy than other energy efficient homes and far less than the average home.
These numbers aren’t accidental. Fred’s main goal in building with ICFs was to create a home that is comfortable and energy conscious.
“I feel we need to do everything we can to protect our environment,” Scott said. “The waste from this type of home is minimal. The energy to heat and cool this home is minimal. The energy to operate the lights and the other appliances within the home is minimal.
-Fred Scott (Homeowner)
Fred credits the majority of the home’s efficiency to the ICFs but he’s also taken extra steps to ensure his bills and footprint stay low. He monitors his thermostat to conserve energy year round and his home is complete with extra efficient Pella triple pane windows.
Reflecting on the past 10 years, we asked Fred if he built the home again, what would he do differently. His answer is simple, “…a little more research and a little more ICFs. If I had the opportunity to do it over again I would have done an insulated slab foundation as well as an ICF roof. I only wish I had learned about Passive House prior to building this home, I believe I could have built an even better energy efficient home without much more work or cost! That, I think, is the beauty of ICF’s in general.”
Designed For the Future
The science behind ICFs is simple and practical; an air tight solid concrete wall that is wrapped in dense foam insulation. Everyone sees the marketing and hears the hype, but when you hear stories and see data like this, it is clear that ICFs offer a wall system that is proven to be long lasting and life changing.
As energy codes change and weather continues to be unpredictable, traditional construction will forever be playing catch up requiring more materials, labor, time, and cost. ICFs, on the other hand, offer exceptional results while exceeding tomorrow’s building codes and adding in disaster resilience for free.
We’re thankful that forward thinking people like Fred Scott are willing to share their story, inspiring the next generation of builders and homeowners to truly build green and live efficiently.
Build it Once, Build it for Life.