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Insulated Concrete Forms for Energy Savings - Page 2

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Posted by Nature Power Systems, LLC on November 2, 2005, 2:14 am
Thank you everyone for all of the input.  I have been doing some research as
well and I found this document that compares an ICF home with an wood-frame
home.  I found it very interesting.

Here is the link:    http://www.pathnet.org/si.asp?idA6


Posted by Ecnerwal on November 2, 2005, 1:45 pm

Might be just a touch biased, and a comparison with other modern methods
might be more appropriate than a comparison with stud framing.

Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by

Posted by Solar Flare on November 2, 2005, 2:17 pm
 I guess since the advantages over framing was "none" in the end.

Posted by Rob Dekker on October 28, 2005, 1:59 am
I have always been surpised with the differences in building materials used
around the world,
mostly between the US and Northern Europe. Hardly any wood is used in Northern

I live in California now, in a wooden house with little insulation, but I grew
up in Holland,
in the cold/windy lowlands. No AC required there for sure, but exceptional
insulation is
necessary to keep the wind/rain/cold out and still have moderate heating cost.
Lumber is expensive in this small, densely populated country, but plenty of
rivers and thus
brick and concrete are the materials of choice.

During the post-war reconstruction, explosive growth in Northern Europe required
low-cost homes that can still withstand the nasty elements. So here is how they
built houses there:

Put up two-story high concrete walls for the sides of the house, with a
triangle-shaped top
where a slanted roof will fit later. Put an entire block of houses up
'sliced-bread' style,
so you use the same concrete form to build identical walls, often 4, 8, 12 or
more in
a block. The forms already have extensions for where electrical wires and
outlets need to
indent into the concrete, so you do not need a chainsaw to put the electrical
wires in later.
So most houses share a concrete wall with both neighbors.

Front and back of the house : pop-in two massive tripple-pane windows, or pre-fab
window/door panels. The big windows brings is a lot of light, which you need to
stay sane
(it's pretty depressive in winter). The double or tripple-pane windows are great
temp insulators.

To finish the thing off, apply 5 inch or more of (stone wool) insulation on the
(concrete) sides,
and erect an outer wall with mostly brick (or other durable, estetically sound
The front and back are mostly windows, but the 'wall' parts of it (around the
door etc)
are typically finished with brick also.

Put a (wooden) slanted roof on top, cover with clay-tiles (red or black; you
must have
seen pictures), 10 inch of stone-wood on the inside of the roof, and the house
is closed.

All in all, this method is extremely energy-efficient, although it was first
first designed
to be a cheap, mass-production process. Not much labor is involved in building,
except for laying
the brick of the outer wall. Often they compromise on the amount of brick by
making the
windows larger, to reduce labor cost (and increase natural light in the houses).

Sheer mass of the double-stone, concrete/brick walls the double/tripple pane
and the 5 inch stone wool insulation keep temperature very stable.
The heater is off during the night, but inside it drops only 10F  (70->60)
even though outside the wind is hauling at near freezing temps.

What a difference with my 'standard', poorly insulated, California home, which
three times as much to build as compared to a similar size home in Holland, and
less than half the insulation value.

So, I'd say : Concrete is the way to go.

Posted by Solar Flare on October 28, 2005, 2:32 am
 Depends on your climate. Here in Canada I would have to A/C more heat and
moisture out of this concrete mass to make my home comfortable. This means
turning the A/C on in late May and not turning it off until Late October or the
humidity will settle in and take days of continuous running to recover the
comfort again.

We get some nice weather too where we like to open windows and you wouldnt be
able to for fear of a hot day again. Quicker response is in order which means
low thermal mass. For dry climates/desert climates where hot during day and cold
at night thermal mass is desired to average out the temps.

around the world,


up in Holland,

insulation is

rivers and thus


they built houses there:

triangle-shaped top

'sliced-bread' style,

more in

outlets need to

wires in later.


to stay sane

great temp insulators.

the (concrete) sides,


door etc)

must have

is closed.

first designed

building, except for laying

making the




and has


lots of

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