Home Construction Trends and ICF

The new year is around the corner. Residential builders are watching trends in order to keep up with the new demand that is soon to follow. Regardless the city, province, or region these trends in home construction reverberate near you. Some occur sooner than later, others vice versa. Alberta is no exception. In order to prepare you for the very near future, we’ve taken a look at the key movements in home building design as they apply to insulated concrete forms.

How ICF Plays a Part in Residential Construction Trends for 2017 and Beyond

1. Eco-friendly is Now the Norm

There is no doubt about this one. Green-building is no longer the future, it is the now. 2017 will see a sweeping call from municipal and federal bodies across the continent, requiring that builders abide by environmentally conscious methods to build homes. Even more dramatic calls to action are occurring, with Net Zero homes already becoming a requirement in some locales. When it comes to green-building, insulated concrete forms are the present and future. The right ICF, is manufactured from 100% recycled polypropylene and steel. NUDURA ICF integrates a four-way reversible system that creates less waste during the construction process, and sends less waste (100% recyclable) to landfills. ICF also has a superior Performance Value, which can go as high as R-50 (measure of thermal resistance) and can save a residential property up to 70% in annual energy use. Using insulated concrete forms in home design and construction leaves a very small carbon footprint, or none at all if you are building Net Zero homes.

2. Healthier Homes

The call to make homes more environmentally sound is not only to the benefit of the global environment, but for the residents. People spend most of their daily hours (which includes sleep) in their home. It is the primary filter that delivers the air they breathe. Building design has a very direct impact on their short and long term health. For years, the public has been paying close attention to their nutritional and fitness regimes in order to take care of their bodies. But now, they are looking further, towards the place where their bodies are at rest. So, what makes a healthy home? It’s pretty simple. Air quality. The demand has been put to residential builders. Build homes for better breathability. Traditional wood structures are susceptible to mould, mildew, and a variety of other spores that are a threat in climates that experience frequent rains and/or snowmelt (the latter being a concern for Alberta). Insulated concrete forms, are not. ICF also does not emit CFC’s or HCFC’s. You immediately reduce health concerns born from these air quality attacks, and provide residents with a healthier place to live. That’s another trend that isn’t going anywhere, ever.

3. Smart Homes

The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken over. Not in an evil SkyNet way (well, not yet), but in a manner that makes public lives at home easier. IoT, in the home, includes all of the web-enabled gadgets and technical bells and whistles that people use. It includes digital entertainment systems, smart kitchen appliances, electronic window shutters, online security systems, and anything else that connects to the wireless web in some manner. Expect this home trend to grow exponentially in 2017. IoT is great, but it can add a significant amount to the monthly utility spend. The solution to accommodate this is two-fold. Either integrate solar power (common to Net Zero homes, where ICF is integral) or seek to reduce monthly expenditures for prospective homeowners elsewhere. This can be done directly with ICF installation in the foundation which cuts heating (and cooling) costs anywhere between 20-70% per month. That significant drop will balance out the otherwise expensive trend of IoT in the home.

Insulated concrete forms are also a big benefit for IoT homeowners who are concerned about the security of their wifi network/s. Concrete blocks in the exterior walls serve as great wifi blockers, and prevent neighbors (or ne’er-do-wells) from tapping into the networks of one another.


Take these home building trends by the horns as you enter 2017 and beyond. Start your new year resolutions early by contacting Total ICF, today.