Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

Taking Form

11/9/2007 12:00:00 AM

Tags: home building, zero energy

As we continue to watch a zero-energy home get built in my hometown of Boulder, Colo., I’m digging the opportunity to learn more about building materials that I’ve seen in finished form but never in process. I like the new perspective.

Recently I took my camera over and caught the crew pouring concrete into foam panels called Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). While I was there, Scott Rodwin and Ron Flax of Rodwin Architecture talked about why they like these ICFs. They have great thermal mass, strength, and sound and wind protection. (All key…the home is being built in one of Boulder’s famous wind alleys, where it can blow up to 130 mph.) And because they’re shipped flat and assembled onsite, there’s much less construction waste.

Ron was happy because the foam insulation on either side of the concrete kept it cool and manageable on a hot summer day, when pouring concrete (especially in arid Colorado) can be a nightmare. “This is essentially a concrete wall, with the blessings and curses of concrete,” he told me. 

Scott and Ron chose Quadlock panels because they allow for easier engineering—which, Ron adds, “is helpful when working with a house as structurally complex as this one.” The house is three stories, on a hill, with huge windows and a lot of steel. All this made advance planning crucial. “When planned in advance, things like windows, vent pipes, electrical conduits and attachment points are super easy with ICFs,” Ron told me. “But when thought about too late, they are problematic at best, and nearly impossible at worst.  While it’s relativity easy to carve out the foam and install wiring and plumbing inside the rooms, exhaust vents, moving windows or any interior-to-exterior penetration is another story entirely.” 

On the scene? All was well. Panels up, concrete in, no punctures necessary.

Boulder Deconstruction: ICF Installation Video 

       
 

 



Related Content

Unique New Product Hides Unsightly Propane Tanks In Yards

It’s an innovative new product that provides homeowners with an aesthetic and permanent solution to ...

Thermal Mass Anyone?

Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The...

A Visit to Greensburg

Earlier this month I visited Greensburg, Kan., and toured a few of its many green buildings. Here's ...

Living Off Grid: Insulated Concrete Forms

Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.