Building My Net Zero Energy Home: Insulated Concrete Form Basement

| 11/11/2012 8:44:00 AM

ICF walls begin to riseOnce the foundation had set up, workers began installing insulating concrete forms — ICFs. We used Logix ICFs, which were locally available.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding a local installer. There were a few installers who installed ICFs in St. Louis, but that’s 70 miles away from my homesite. Fortunately, I was able to find an installer in nearby Union, Understall Foundations. They did not have extensive experience but had done several projects, including one very large high-end project, with ICFs.

I chose ICFs for the basement and basement-level garage because they provided R-30 insulation and created an airtight space. They also saved me a ton of work. Had I poured a conventional foundation, I would have spent a week installing insulation inside and outside the wall, then furring out the inside wall so I could attach paneling or drywall. These ICFs contain internal plastic bridges that prevent blow out but also provide a nailer into which we could drive screws to attach drywall or paneling.

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

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