Re: Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)
From: castrohom [at] (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 05:51:43 -0800 (PST)
Thanks Jerry - and Tom
One of the considerations here in North Central Florida is that ICFs are 
insect/termite and moisture/mold resistant. 
Seems like SIPs are too costly - we are trying to keep costs down

On Jan 7, 2016, at 11:55 PM, Jerry McIntire <jerry.mcintire [at]> 

> Insulated concrete forms use lots of concrete, which has a bigger
> environmental impact than lumber (the equivalent structural component), and
> plastic foam to insulate which also has a greater environmental impact than
> recycled cellulose which is easily used in a wood-framed structure.
> If thermal mass is needed in a passive-solar design, ICFs don't provide it
> because the concrete is insulated on both the exterior and interior.
> What are they good for? Basement walls maybe.
> SIPs panels are another alternative I like more than ICFs. They have a
> greater R (insulation) value per wall thickness than ICFs and have equal or
> better structural value if polyurethane foam is used in the SIPs. They can
> be used for roof, wall, and floor panels and they save on labor costs.
> Jerry McIntire
> On Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at]> wrote:
>> 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
>> Miranda
>> 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.
>> Constraints:
>> It requires a very well trained and experienced crew and manager to be
>> well constructed;
>> 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 expense.
>> 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 costs.
>> 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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Miranda Castro
Mailing: 2349 NW 32nd Place, 
            Gainesville, FL 32605 
Phone: 352-505-8545
Email: mirandacastro [at]

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