One of the myths surrounding insulated concrete forms is in regards to the buy-in. Purported as being an expensive means to build a home by traditionalist builders stuck in a rut, it has (in the past) been overlooked by some as a clear solution to affordable housing needs across the country, Alberta included.
Thankfully, this misperception is rapidly changing. Recent news has shown that foundations such as Habitat for Humanity have even turned to insulated concrete forms for affordable housing initiatives. However, in the event that you are not yet up to date as to why ICF is the answer to lower income property development, the following will clear it all up for you.
3 Reasons Why Insulated Concrete Forms Provide the Solution to Affordable Housing Woes in Alberta
1. Lower Total Operating Costs
Any concern about the initial cost (historically 2 to 5 per cent more than wood-framed construction) of an ICF home is abated by the reduction in ongoing expenditure and thus the overall and longterm cost of construction. The reason for this dramatic cost savings?
Thanks to the enhanced thermal resistance (R-Value of 23.59) and airtightness of insulated concrete form construction, smaller mechanical heating and cooling systems can be installed. This reduces the capital expenditure of mechanical equipment. But the savings don’t stop there. Reduced space heating/cooling energy usage ultimately reduces the ongoing operational costs of each individual home and/or entire housing development. In addition to the lower monthly utility expenditure, ICF ongoing maintenance expenditure is cut thanks to sturdy construction that better withstands harsh weather and fire. Its moisture resistant properties also removes concern surrounding mold and mildew growth, once again proving its value in keeping maintenance costs at bay. View more on how ICF lowers operating costs and overall cost of construction.
Bottom line, is that the concept of “affordable” is steeped in economic sustainability and when you consider the facts, there is no better way to deliver affordable housing than to do so via ICF construction.
2. Creates a Better Living Environment
Affordable housing construction should not come at the expense of occupant comfort, security, and longterm livability. You’ll be happy to know that when ICF is used, the result is the exact opposite. In fact, residents of an ICF home are likely to be more comfortable than those occupying traditionally built homes (with all else equal). The reason/s?
For one, the thermal resistance and airtightness that brings down ongoing utility expense also provides for a more comfortable living environment. Alberta homes will be warmer in the autumn and winter, and cooler in the late spring and summer, as needed. It simply doesn’t matter what’s going on outdoors, occupants within an ICF home will be better shielded from the elements, natural, or manmade. In addition, the aforementioned protection against mold and mildew helps keep air quality high, allowing occupants to breathe cleaner and healthier air. Worried about the future outbreak of insects and other pests common to the province? Fret not, as ICF is manufactured as an enemy to all sorts of critters.
3. Affordable Homes That Look (and Feel) Like Luxury Homes
Unfortunately, the first thing many think when they consider the expression “affordable housing” is a rundown housing project type of complex. While this may be the case when antiquated building methods are used, the misnomer does not apply to economical properties built from ICF.
In fact, ICF is being adopted by contemporary architects and building designers because of the clean-lined aesthetic that it affords them. In addition, ICF walls allow for practically any type of exterior finishing, so that cost-effective yet desirable finishes such as quality vinyl or even veneers that mimic stone or wood can be applied. This allows you to build cost-effective housing that looks and feels amazing, letting new residents feel a sense a pride from the moment they move in. And you too as a builder can feel that same pride in knowing that you delivered affordable housing without cutting one iota of quality.
Contact Total ICF to learn more about how we can help you get started with insulated concrete forms today.