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Can I get healthy air quality using ICF forms?

I am new to building and live in SD. I want a home with good healthy indoor air quality as I have sensitivity issues. Spray foam is out. I am thinking of using ICF forms for the basement and 1st floor in a ranch style home. Cover the walls with sheet rock and insulate the attic with cellulose. Using a HRV system does anyone know if there would be any off gassing problems with the ICF?

Also, I read something about embodied energy and ICF forms. Can you explain this to me.

Thank you,

Asked by Kami Kline
Posted Nov 23, 2012 7:08 PM ET
Edited Nov 23, 2012 7:26 PM ET


2 Answers

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ICF forms are made of expanded polystyrene, a type of rigid foam insulation. Although I have never heard of anyone who lived in an ICF home complaining of an indoor air quality problem attributable to the ICFs, it's extremely difficult for anyone to predict the reactions of someone with (as you put it) "sensitivity issues." I suppose you could get an ICF and live with it for a few days. Put the ICF on your dining room table or your dresser in your bedroom, and monitor your reactions.

Remember, though -- the ICF will be behind a layer of drywall. You won't be in contact with the ICF once the house is built.

The term "embodied energy" refers to the amount of energy required to manufacture a building material or a manufactured object. For more information on the embodied energy of materials, see:

An article from Environmental Building News: Embodied Energy -- Just What Is It and Why Do We Care?

A table: Embodied Energy of Selected Building Materials

An article from Wikipedia: Embodied energy

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Nov 24, 2012 5:39 AM ET


Thank you Martin.

Answered by Kami Kline
Posted Nov 24, 2012 9:32 AM ET

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