|BuildBlock at World of Concrete Exhibit 2012 - Booth #N1545
Join BuildBlock Building Systems, LLC, January 24 - 27, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the annual exhibit. World of Concrete delivers the full range of concrete and masonry professionals in one location. Find us at booth #N1545 and learn more about our superior products.
New MIT Research Touts Insulated Concrete Forms For Energy Efficiency
Can residential construction using insulated concrete forms, or ICFs, be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than current building practices? That’s what new industry-sponsored research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology contends.
In an effort to “deliver a new level of clarity” about the life-cycle performance of structures that include single-family homes, MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub, a research team, on Thursday released an interim report of a year-long investigation into the potential energy savings in homes constructed with ICFs.
The Portland Cement Association and the Ready-Mix Concrete Research Foundation are funding the Hub’s research, which it expects to complete by next August. Its goal, according to co-director John Ochsendorf, an associate professor for MIT’s departments of architecture and civil and environmental engineering, is to come up with a model for assessing the carbon emissions of buildings during a 75-year period. This model is also intended “to demonstrate the potential energy savings due to the benefits of thermal mass, effective insulation, and reduced air infiltration,“ which the report contends are inherent in ICF.
In a teleconference, Ochsendorf said his team would be using in its assessments the U.S. Department of Energy’s benchmark buildings, which number 5,000 across the country. According to the executive summary released Thursday, those buildings include both two-story homes of 2,400 square feet that are wood-framed and ICF-made as well as multifamily four-story structures that are L-shaped, with a typical floor plate area of 2,900 square feet.
During the year of analysis, Hub researchers discovered that:
• The advantages of higher R-value and lower thermal bridging enable ICF homes to deliver energy savings in heating, cooling, and ventilation compared to conventional wood-framed construction.
• For residential buildings, ICF construction can offer operational energy savings of at least 20% compared to code-compliant wood-framed buildings in a cold climate such as Chicago.
• More than 90% of the life-cycle carbon emissions are due to the building’s operation phase, with construction and end-of-life disposal accounting for less than 10% of the total emissions.
The three keys that make this research unique, said Ochsendorf, are its “comprehensiveness” (in that it includes the buildings’ energy use in its assessments), its combination of life-cycle environmental assessments with economic cost analysis, and its benchmarking of the structures’ performance “to create a road map for better infrastructure in the future.”
Over the next several months, the Hub team intends to expand its research to more climate zones, explore the potential energy savings related to passive technology in concrete homes, and quantify the life cycle economic performance of concrete residential construction.
In an interview with BUILDER, Ochsendorf conceded that the higher construction costs which builders typically ascribe with energy efficiency continue to be “an honest-to-God barrier” to better building, especially when builders are hardly ever the operators of what they build, so their concerns about long-term post-construction energy efficiency often end at the closing.
Ochsendorf adds that there’s a lot more that builders could be doing to make their homes more efficient, starting with maximizing the house’s window exposure to sunlight and wind. “There’s an awful lot of low-hanging fruit builders could be picking to re-imagine what buildings should be.”
He adds that throughout history, dating back to Roman times, home builders across the world “have responded to their climates,” and he’s waiting for cultural shifts that might lead to that same response in the United States.
Oregon DEQ Recommends
ICFs and SIPs
Insulating concrete forms and structural insulated panels were found by the Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality to be among the best building practices to
reduce greenhouse gasses and waste generation from residential construction. In
conjunction with the Oregon Home Builders Association, Quantis and Earth
Advantage Institute, the Oregon DEQ recently completed the second phase of a new
report, titled “A Life Cycle Assessment Based Approach to Prioritizing Methods of
Preventing Waste from Residential Building”. The report rates best ways to reduce
greenhouse gas and waste generation from the residential construction sector. The
goal of the project was to identify and characterize building practices that are likely to
prevent waste and to determine which of those practices provide the greatest
Of the 25 practices evaluated, ICFs and SIPs were ranked third and sixth for their
energy efficiency benefits. Building multi-family housing and building a smaller home
claimed the top rated spots. The fifth spot went to “design using salvaged materials."
Strawbale construction had a slight advantage over salvaged materials and came in
The study examined energy use and waste from all stages of a home’s life;
construction, use and occupancy, maintenance and remodeling, demolition, and end-of-
life disposal. Use and occupancy contributed in excess of 80% of the total climate
change impact over the projected 70 year life of the home. The materials production
stages (including original and replacement materials) contributed 12% overall,
followed by transportation of materials and workers to and from the job site at 4%.
The best scoring practices were dominated by those that affect a home’s energy use.
These included the use of alternative wall materials such as ICFs, SIPs, and
strawbale. The report stated that many of the limitations of wood-frame construction
are overcome by using these alternative systems. Additionally, the report found that
because of the radical reduction or elimination of wood framing and the associated
thermal bridges, the overall performance of ICFs exceeded the base case by a
According to the Oregon DEQ, unless one wants multi-family housing, a smaller
home, or walls made of straw, ICF’s are one of the best ways to go. Contact the ICFA
for more information on this report.
BuildBlock featured on Designing Spaces
OKLAHOMA CITY – BuildBlock Building Systems, an Oklahoma City based manufacturer of insulating concrete forms, was featured recently on the nationally-syndicated show Designing Spaces.
The segment highlights benefits of BuildBlock insulating concrete form construction including resistance to tornados, hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes. Other highlighted benefits include safety, energy efficiency, value of the structure and increased comfort.
Projects currently under construction, as well as completed homes, were featured during the segment. Arizona resident Gary Fetters discussed his experience of living in a BuildBlock insulating concrete form home and the advantages he’s seen as a result.
BuildBlock insulating concrete forms are hollow foam blocks that are stacked into the shape of any structure. They are constructed of expanded polystyrene, much like a white Styrofoam cup. Steel rebar is placed in the forms and then they are filled with concrete which results in a structure or home that’s more durable than traditional construction method.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to introduce BuildBlock to consumers nationwide through Designing Spaces,” said Athena Davis, BuildBlock’s director of sales and marketing.
Designing Spaces is a half-hour informative series that inspires viewers to make every space count and instructs them on the smartest ways to make their homes more beautiful and functional.
Click here to see the Designing Spaces feature on BuildBlock Building Systems.
Construction under way on Ada Early Childhood Development Center.
As many Oklahoma students prepare to hear the bells ring this school year, construction is beginning on a landmark early childhood development center in Ada, Okla.
The center, constructed of BuildBlock Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), will serve a dual purpose when completed in 2011. Not only will it serve as an educational facility for the Ada School District, it can also serve as a community safe room in the event of inclement weather. The insulating concrete forms being erected for the facility are comprised of two 2 ½ inch expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam panels connected by eight strong, high-density plastic webs. The forms are secured with rebar and filled with concrete, providing a monolithic concrete wall that is impenetrable by tornados and hurricanes. The structure is also extremely fire resistant. The ICFs also meet today’s building codes as well as those anticipated in the future.
“We don’t get an opportunity to build a new school every day,” Ada Superintendent Pat Harrison said. “The school will be in a noisy location and ICFs provide sound mitigation that will be beneficial for our students and our staff.”
Harrison also noted that traditional building methods were not cost-effective for this project. “We will save money on labor and time savings on installing the insulated concrete forms,” he noted. “However, we will receive more significant savings through the energy efficiency proved by the insulating concrete forms.” Harrison said he was excited to learn that the district could save up to 30 percent on their utility costs by constructing the facility with insulating concrete forms.
He noted that the district currently spends approximately $70,000 annually on utilities. “We are trying to be good stewards of the tax payers’ money,” Harrison said. “Money means a lot right now, even more so than a year ago.”
Architect Don Childers said he recommended the school be constructed from insulating concrete forms for a variety of reasons including cost and safety.
“I didn’t want to recommend something that would put me out on a limb,” Childers said. “There was a tight budget, but I felt like we could accomplish this and stay within budget.”
Ada’s New Early Childhood Center is one of the largest projects in the country utilizing insulating concrete forms, encompassing more than 100,000 square feet of the product.
BuildBlock offers new payment option
Need to send a payment, but short on time? Use the FREE and convenient ACH process that we offer. The ACH process requires you to provide your bank routing number and checking account number for us to save in our banks secure website. Then anytime you need to pay for an order, just note it on your MY BuildBlock Sales order or give us a call. We will then verify the last 4 digits of your account number and draft the funds from your account.
Please note we will never draft your account without your permission and verifying the account number to be drafted.
Experience the power of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with BuildBlock 3D Models
BuildBlock has teamed up with Architecture Demarest to create 3D models for architects to aid in the design phase of their projects. These state-of-the-art model drawings are now available on our website - click here to download them for free! Be sure to share this exciting information with Architects in your area.
For more information about BIM cutting edge technology, please goto: www.autodesk.com
Accurately maintain your vision through design, documentation, and construction. Use the essential building information modeling (BIM) data that Autodesk Revit Architecture software provides to support sustainable design, clash detection, construction planning, and fabrication.
To learn more about Revit Architecture software, visit www.autodesk.com/revitarchitecture.
Click here to Download BuildBlock Revit Estimator (2010 compatible)
Click here to Download BuildBlock Revit Estimator (2009 compatible)
BuildBlock Appearing Across U.S.
Home show season is in full swing and BuildBlock distributors and dealers are presenting BuildBlock ICFs at home shows throughout the U.S. See our Events Calendar
you can see
High Wind Zone
4" ICF Walls Now
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4" ICF walls are
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