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What is the difference between ICF and prefab concrete panels in terms of speed of construction, cost, and energy efficiency?

Ayman Youssef | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

We have an 8,000-house project in Saudi Arabia and prefab is proposed, however ICF was presented as the more energy-efficient and time-saving.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Ayman,
    There are a wide number of prefab concrete wall systems available, and I have no idea which of these systems are available in Saudi Arabia. Prices in North America are likely to be different from prices in Saudi Arabia, so your decision will be based mostly on local information.

    Among the insulated concrete wall panels available for below-grade or above-grade construction in the U.S. are Thermomass (a concrete sandwich panel with XPS insulation between inner and outer layers of concrete) and Superior Wall (precast concrete panels with insulation on one side -- usually used below grade). There are also a wide number of manufacturers selling EPS foam insulation panels with reinfocing mesh on both sides; these are finished on site with gunite or shotcrete. Manufacturers of these panels include Concrete Builders (3-D system), 3-D Panel Works, Solarcrete, Monotech, TridiPanel, All Wall Company, FinPan ProTec, and Home Front.

    When it comes to thermal performance, there are only two criteria that matter: airtightness and R-value. All of these systems (and ICF walls) should be relatively airtight. If you want to select a system based on thermal performance, choose a wall system with the highest R-value (in other words, the thickest foam).

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