Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)
From: Thomas Lofft (
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2016 10:05:09 -0800 (PST)
ON Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2016 10:39:27 -0500
From: Miranda Castro <mirandacastro [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Insulated concrete forms
Miranda wrote: 
Hi All
I am curious as to whether any cohousing group has used "insulated concrete 
forms? in the construction of their homes - 
or researched this and decided not to and if so why.
Thanks so much

Hi, Miranda et al.: 
At Liberty Village, MD,
there was one home built with ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) which is now 15 
years old.  
I witnessed the construction, but was neither the builder nor the project 
manager, however, I do now own the home.
I have otherwise watched the development and use of this technology and 
consider it very beneficial.
However, I'm not sure how its current cost balances against all its benefits.  
Local construction costs will depend upon both material and labor typical local 
cost variables.

Benefits: It creates a very airtight structure, 
It's very highly resistant to external noise;
It's well insulated and totally air infiltration resistant except at openings 
for doors, windows and utilities which must be well sealed;
It's insulation levels can be upgraded by thicker ICF's at the onset. 
The roof structure may be conventional framing or trusses with structural 
insulated panels (SIP's) used for roof structure.

It requires a very well trained and experienced crew and manager to be well 
Like any other construction it is still totally dependent upon knowledgeable 
soils testing and foundation construction;
Effective use for a PassivHaus would still require high insulation values for 
doors and glazing, possibly triple glazed;
I expect long term value will be very high, offsetting possibly higher initial 

Similarly, this house was also developed with Ground Source Geothermal Heat 
Pumps for Heating & Air Conditioning (HVAC).
These also added front end expense in 2000, but very high value long term 
benefits with HVAC operating expenses less than 50% of comparable fossil fuel 
I personally believe strongly in making front end investment for long term 
value, so I have added photo-voltaic (PV) panels to the rooftop.  
In this case, the house was planned for perfect southerly roof orientation and 
all roof penetrations were avoided. 
In 2014, 36 - 255 watt PV panels were added for a 9.2 KW DC system, eliminating 
any electricity cost from last May through this month.  
The house is about 2,400 sq. ft. on 2 levels, with three baths, four bedrooms, 
2 kitchens, 2 living-dining areas.
It is currently used as an upper and lower level duplex, and has an attached 1 
car garage.
It is now offered on the local real estate market for $385,000, including a 
30,000 sq. ft. lot. 
All inquiries are invited.

Tom Lofft
Liberty Village, MD


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