Building energy-wise homes using ICF

With all the interest in both building eco-friendly homes, we are seeing more and more new technologies being adopted into new and existing homes.

Improving your homes insulation has always been a top priority in saving energy costs – but did you know that there are now better ways to fully insulate a new foundation?  Insulated Concrete Forms, commonly known as ICF’s are stay-in-place concrete forms made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) that are built in the shape of the exterior walls of a building. Reinforcing steel is than added and the gap between the two layers of foam is filled with concrete, which cures and hardens into a solid, monolithic core.

ICF construction results in exterior walls that have continuous insulation - two layers of EPS Foam wrapped around a concrete core. The result is much less air infiltration and fewer drafts than a conventional frame house. The solid concrete core of an ICF wall also stabilizes the temperature in your home because of its thermal mass, so you enjoy more constant temperatures, throughout the day. With its high R-values, low air infiltration, and high thermal mass, you can save up to 50% of energy costs compared to conventional construction.

A study commissioned by the Portland Cement Association concluded that homes built with ICF exterior walls offer up to a 32-71 percent savings for heating and cooling costs over comparable wood-frame houses. This means that a typical 2,450-square-foot home in Ontario can save approximately $2000 in heating and air conditioning costs each year. The larger the house the larger the potential savings.

We are now seeing this modern technology creep into the Heritage Home market.  By upgrading the foundation of an Heritage-era building, you gain many benefits beyond simple enhanced structural integrity.  The added insulation and resistance to drafts and moisture resistance allows you to enjoy modern comforts and energy efficiency, while maintaining the beauty of a Heritage home.