Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)
Building with Insulated Concrete Forms is a wall construction method that employs a pre manufactured, interlocking, lightweight, polystyrene block product filled with reinforced concrete. One can create a long, thick wall that is straight and level that will stand for generations to come. This system provides structural integrity, energy efficiency, significant sound reduction as well as fire safety. It is a great way to get high levels of insulation together with thermal mass, and is earthquake, termite, and mildew resistant. ICF can be used for the outer walls in a passive solar building, but is not used for thermal mass in a passive solar design. These walls are generally about 12″ thick, providing an appealing depth and exceptional sound proofing. Any conventional finish may be applied to the interior or exterior of this wall section with conventional fasteners. You can have a siding home that looks very quaint or a stucco masterpiece exemplifying the latest architecture.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are manufactured panels used in floors, walls and roofs. Entire structures can be built using these panels attached to vertical posts. The panels come in a range of thickness from 4″ to 12″ thick and furnish insulation values up to R-5.5 per inch. The expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) core is sandwiched between two sheets of sustainably harvested OSB or plywood, giving this “composite” structure significant shear strength. The panels can be used in combination with other building methods and are ideal for sheathing commercial or residential roof structures to yield insulation values of R-60 or higher. Walls constructed of SIPs can be ordered from the factory with windows and doors pre-cut using AutoCAD controlled routing tables. SIPs wall construction assembles quickly, provides noise reduction, is very airtight, and has very high insulation values at a relatively affordable price. SIPs use less wood than the typical 2×4″ constructed wall section and with careful planning creates less construction waste. The material comes to the job site with all cuts and layout figured out. Assembly can be simplified and fast.
* R-value means “resistance value” and is a measure of the capacity of an insulating materials to resist heat transfer.
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