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Green Basics

Insulated Concrete Forms

ICF Walls are Durable and Energy Efficient

ABOUT ICF WALLS

ICF homes are tight, strong, and quiet

One way to insulate a poured concrete wall is with permanent forms made of insulation. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are panels or hollow blocks that are stacked, braced, and then filled with concrete. They are most commonly solid pieces of rigid foam, but some are composites of cement and other insulating materials.

ICF walls should be seriously considered for any home built in a region subject to regular hurricanes.

Proponents of ICF walls tout at least two energy benefits: low rates of air leakage; and a thermal mass benefit. In many climates, an ICF wall provides no thermal mass benefit. Whether an ICF wall saves energy depends upon what the wall is being compared to.

Most homes with ICF walls have lower levels of air leakage than typical wood-framed homes. However, wood-frame homes can be made very airtight.

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