The Sustainability of ICF

Originally posted in Bison Tracks Go Green

There’s some debate about whether ICF construction should be considered a “green” way to build, as ICF blocks are made of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), which is initially made from fossil fuels and is not biodegradable. Regardless of whether or not ICF construction is “green enough,” it is still a highly sustainable building method.

An ICF home can last upwards of 100 years because of its main materials being EPS and concrete. During this time, the home’s R-Value experiences little to no change. And of course, ICF homes are more energy efficient than the average home. Due to insulating themselves, ICFs use less energy (and less money) to heat and cool, which has a lower impact on the environment compared to homes built using other methods. This was shown in a 2000 study performed by John Gajda and Martha VanGeem in order to measure how the ICF performed in different climates. The ICF’s energy savings won over stick frame in all climates.

Companies like Fox Blocks use ICFs that are made from recycled EPS. Fox Blocks also uses recycled scrap material from its parent company for the plastic brackets that hold together their ICF blocks.

There are also other ways to contribute to the sustainability of your home outside of just using recycled ICF block: by using renewable energy sources like solar or geothermal, you can further reduce the impact your home has on the environment.

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