Canada’s largest green building conference just concluded over a week ago, and on the tip of many tongues was the concept of insulated concrete form (ICF) based construction. With each passing year federal and provincial governing bodies, local municipalities, construction companies and general contractors alike are searching for better, more eco-friendly building methods. Alberta builders are also following suit, not just out of responsibility, but to abide by the province’s energy efficiency requirements under the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB – section 9.36) and to apply for LEED certification. We’re in a world where environmentally conscious construction has become not only a strategic advantage for your company, but a necessity. Thankfully for Alberta contractors and builders, ICF has arrived.
5 Reasons Why Insulated Concrete Forms are Best Suited for Green Building Initiatives in Alberta
1. 100% Recycled ICF Connecting Web
The two EPS foam panels used to build a wall are separated by a connector known as a web. This web accounts for a very significant portion of materials used in the construction of an ICF building. The web used in our company’s (supplied by NUDURA) panels, blocks, and foundations is made from 100% recycled material, making it one of the most eco-friendly alternatives of its kind on the market.
2. Reduced Construction Waste
From beginning to end the use of insulated concrete forms demands an immediate reduction of waste when compared to traditional construction methods. For starters, the shipping process of these pre-set forms minimizes packaging and shipping material needs. But on the construction site itself you’ll find the greatest example of waste reduction in action. Allow us the following rudimentary yet succinct analogy. Imagine if you were to place someone in a room with lego blocks, and another in a room with wood panels, bolts, screws, nails, wire, cables, and saws and cutters and told each to build the same structure within an hour. Upon your return, which room do you think would evidence the least amount of waste? When it comes to building a residential, commercial, industrial, or municipal property there is no better way to minimize squander than by using insulated concrete forms.
3. No Harmful Emissions
Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs), and Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful to the ozone layer, environment, and even personal health. Bans have been instituted in the former to better regulate Canada’s carbon footprint, but to date the latter (VOCs) remains to be a problem in some traditional building practices. NUDURA Insulated concrete forms however, emit no CFCs, HFCs, or VOCs and as mentioned in item #1, the inert high-density polypropylene connecting webs are 100% recycled and emit zero traces of harmful emissions.
4. Direct Reduction in Ongoing Energy Expenditure
Insulated concrete forms have a strong r-value (the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow). In addition, they have a high thermal mass concrete core, continuous insulation layers inside and out, and superior air tightness. When combined, these characteristics limit heat conductance down to a maximum of 1.9 Btu/SF/Hr at -11 degrees F (5.99 W/m2 at -20 degrees C). This equals minimal energy expenditure for heating and cooling alike, which not only reduces your utility bill, it directly benefits the environment. The longterm eco-friendly benefits of ICF construction make it a true green building initiative.
5. Built to Last, Negating the Need for Future Upkeep and Waste
Insulated concrete form construction builds strong, sturdy, non-combustible, and natural disaster averse buildings. When compared to traditional wood-constructed buildings, a concrete fortress better stands the test of time and all of the climate-born trials and tribulations that comes with it. Less resource allocation is required for maintenance, repair, and rebuilding in the years and decades ahead. This consideration is essential when planning a community or industrial park that is meant to span generations. Simply put, the ICF concept is the clear frontrunner for green building for the future.
Ready to get started on your green building project in Alberta? Contact Total ICF at 403.887.2214 at your earliest convenience.