Insulated concrete forms in ecosmart house
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are formwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for energy-efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls, floors, and roofs. The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked, without mortar, and filled with concrete. The forms lock together somewhat like Lego blocks and serve to create a form for the structural walls.
How insulated concrete forms work
Concrete is pumped into the cavity to form the structural element of the walls. Usually reinforcing steel is added before concrete placement to give the concrete flexural strength, similar to bridges and high-rise buildings made of concrete. The forms are filled with concrete in 1–4 foot "lifts" to reduce the risk of blowouts like with other concrete formwork. After the concrete has cured, or firmed up, the forms are left in place permanently and provide thermal and acoustic insulation, space to run electrical conduit and plumbing, and backing for gypsum boards on the interior and stucco, brick, or other siding on the exterior of the house.
There are several elements that make ICF green:
- Reduces Energy Consumption & Harmful Emissions.
- Global warming is a direct result of harmful gas emissions released into the earth's atmosphere. ICF structures can combine expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation and concrete thermal mass. This highly effective combination of materials minimizes temperature fluctuations by absorbing and storing heat. This can equate to an average of approximately 30-50% reduction in energy consumption for heating and cooling, which results in an equivalent reduction in harmful emissions.
- No CFC's, HCFC's, formaldehyde or any chemicals are used in the manufacturing process and no off-gassing is present
- Uses Recycled Materials: the product selected for the ecosmart house uses webs that are manufactured using 100% post-industrial recycled polypropylene. This means that over 60% of the weight of an ICF block is comprised of recycled materials.
- Minimizes Waste: An ICF product can generate as little as 1% construction waste, greatly reducing land fill.
- Contributes to LEED Certification: ICFs can greatly contribute to the LEED certification of a structure. The selected ICF may contribute over 20 points towards LEED certification.