Any building today, whether a suburban house, a bank or a school, or a library will need the right construction materials for a strong and durable frame, and construction crews will work hard to assemble the right materials for the job, ranging from a concrete foundation to steel beams, wooden beams, and brick, but these traditional construction materials for walls have a competitor in the form of ICF building blocks, which are a form of green building materials. Just what are green building materials, and what is their appeal? In general, green building materials are those that help a building become much more energy-efficient, meaning that it uses less electricity generated from fossil fuels to run, and reducing pollution is part of the overall “go green” initiative. But there is even more appeal to green building materials than that; ICF products have proven themselves a reliable and useful form of construction materials, and those building a new home or public building may consider using ICF walls rather than brick or wood.
Why Use Green Building Materials?
It is well known that despite the rise of solar and wind energy, fossil fuels are still a large part of the American energy infrastructure, and these fossil fuels regularly emit large amounts of pollution to generate power at power plants. For this reason, many people across the United States have resolved to minimize their electricity needs so that power plants do not have to operate as much to meet those needs, and this often involves a building’s heating and cooling systems and the insulation. After all, it has been determined that just over half of a typical American home’s power is dedicated to heating and cooling, so if this system is inefficient, this drives up the electric bill and goes against the “go green” initiative. Commercial buildings also use a lot of power for heating and cooling, as well as for lighting.
If a building such a home has poor insulation in its walls, attic, or if it has drafty windows or doors, this means that a lot of cooled or warm air will leak out. This causes constant changes to the internal climate control, making it necessary for the HVAC systems to work overtime to keep compensating for this loss, and that drives up the electric bill considerably. Many American homes and public buildings alike have faulty or nonexistent insulation, and this is collectively costing billions of dollars in power that could otherwise be saved. Current homes can help avoid this trend by having spray foam insulation put in place as well as replacing drafty windows and doors, and for new buildings under construction, green building materials such as ICF bricks can get the job done.
Just what are ICF bricks? ICF, or Insulating Concrete Forms, means that a wall can be very strong and be energy efficient, something that any homeowner would want. These concr4ete bricks form not a solid wall, but a wall that has a hollow space in the middle. In there, items such as pipes for the plumbing, electric and phone cables, and most of all insulation can be added, and this means that such a wall is very effective at insulating the home from losing warm or cool air. At the same time, this wall will protect wires and pipes from damage of all kinds, and this can help prevent the need for costly repair to those utilities. All this insulation, meanwhile, makes for a very energy-efficient HVAC system.
Back in 1966, ICF forms were patented by a Canadian contractor named Werner Gregori, and ever since, these bricks have served as a convenient building material, and they can be neatly stacked and arranged to quickly form a house’s walls. ICF materials may also be price friendly, and for over 60 years, they have been put to use in home construction. Estimates show that a house’s final costs may be cut by as much as %0.75 per square foot if ICF materials are used. Homes built with these bricks are also generally six to nine times stronger than those built with traditional materials, and this may be essential for homes that are situated where hurricanes or tornadoes often occur.