The Benefits of Insulated Concrete Forms as a Green Building Material (ICF)

A concrete home is left standing after hurricane Katrina

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) as a Green Building Material are revolutionizing the way ecologically responsible homes and buildings are being built in Oklahoma & throughout North America. Commercial property owners and homeowners are realizing that it’s time to build more responsibly and sustainably and take advantage of lower operational costs too. Dollar for dollar, no other wall system matches the performance or safety of an ICF system. 

An ICF & Reinforced Concrete Home is Naturally Safer

Recent destructive tornadoes in Oklahoma have dramatically demonstrated to the conventional home building industry in North America that the technology for building houses according to contemporary codes and construction practices does not adequately protect such homes against the forces generated by tornadoes. Tornadoes are far and away the biggest disasters of all ever to challenge home owners in in Oklahoma & North America. They can be four times more destructive than hurricanes or earthquakes. And yet the uncomplicated engineering and architecture required to build houses that are safe is essentially ignored. It is not at all technically difficult to design and construct homes that will stand up to these monster winds. It has been effectively done for half a century, but not in North America. And contrary to popular opinion, they can be built for approximately the same cost as wood-framed houses.. with lower ongoing costs too!

Up to 85 percent of homes currently destroyed by tornados can be spared, according to experts at the University of Alabama - "If you are above ground and you get hit in a storm like that, ( The one in Moore, Oklahoma. May 20th 2013 ) no matter the type of construction unless it is a concrete-reinforced structure, you are probably not going to have anything left," Andrew Graettinger, Civil Engineer at the University of Alabama.

The tragedy in North America is that builders and building code bodies largely ignore the relatively simple construction methods available that are capable of resisting EF-5 tornadoes. Even more surprizing and unfortunate, most homebuilders have tended to rebuild the destroyed houses with the same vulnerable technology with which they were built originally - due to a combination of inexperienced builders and misinformation regarding the cost of building a better, more resistant home with ICF & Reinforced Concrete. 

The International Residential Code IRC for One and Two Family Dwellings

The International Residential Code (IRC) for "One and Two-Family Dwellings" does not provide for tornado-resistant home design and construction. After such disasters have occurred, a number of expert sources have publicly offered subjective explanations for failures and have proposed "disaster-resistant" solutions that have not been documented as being capable of resisting severe tornado winds. Most of them are based on trying to upgrade wood-framed technology that has consistently failed in major tornadoes and hurricanes over the years. To see actual tests conducted on wood frame constructed homes vs. fortified homes, visit the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) or view the video below.

Why a Concrete Building is Safer:

  • Increased strength and protection 
  • Walls built with Quad-Lock’s Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) and concrete can withstand winds up to 250 mph
  • Reinforced concrete structures can withstand the impact of most flying debris from extreme winds with little or no structural damage
  • 4-hour fire rating (with Quad-Lock 8" concrete walls)
  • Inorganic composition makes it resistant to decay, insect infestation, mold and mildew
  • Undamaged from exposure to water
  • Rock solid walls - No hollow walls for rodents and insect to live in
“Tests conducted by the Texas Tech University have shown that structures built of insulated concrete forms can generally withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour.” Source FEMA News Release Number: R8-08-011

Download Quad-Lock's "After the Storm" publication for more details.

An ICF & Concrete Building Saves You Money

Did you know that heating and cooling costs on a typical stick framed structure accounts for more than half of the energy used? Air infiltration on a typical exterior wall is responsible for up to 40% of the energy loss. Drafts inside the home (not coming from air infiltration) are caused when warm air meets a cold surface and causes a vortex and felt as a draft. Because of the thermal mass of concrete surrounding an ICF structure, walls remain a constant temperature and drafts are virtually eliminated. Many costs can be further reduced, eliminated or offset when building with insulated concrete forms. 

A few of the many benefits of building with ICFs include: How ICF & Concrete Control Heat Gain and Loss - Summer Example

  • Drastically reduced energy consumption
  • Considerably Lower insurance premiums
  • Require smaller mechanical systems (HVAC)
  • Qualify for Energy Efficient Mortgage
  • A healthier and safer indoor environment 
  • A more air-tight structure
  • Increased comfort
  • Reduced noise
  • Resale values are typically higher
  • A concrete structure will Last for centuries, not decades  
  • Governments at the regional and federal levels have recognized the value of concrete homes and offer building incentives
  • Quad-Lock Building Systems is the only ISO rated ICF manufacturer in North America (A business which is ISO certified shows consumers that they provide quality. The certification process is long and rigorous and the standards are tough.) 

Compare the Differences Between Building with ICF & Concrete Versus Traditional Wood or CMU Construction

Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms vs. Wood Construction

Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms vs. Wood Construction

Read the complete article on Quad-Lock ICF vs Wood Construction.

Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms vs. CMU Construction

Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms vs. Wood Construction

Read the complete article on Quad-Lock ICF vs CMU Construction.

IBHS Research Center's Demonstration Video

This video by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety shows the difference between a standard/traditionally built home and a Fortified Home.

The Benefits of Building with Quad-Lock ICF Video

Find out why building with ICF & Concrete is the Better Building Choice - Stronger, Safer, Healthier, More Energy Efficient and Cost Less to own than wood-frame construction. 

Find out how simple and cost effective it is to have Insulated Concrete Forms and More as part of the team - Contact ICF & More in Oklahoma and Get an initial Free Consultation or Quote.