What are Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)?
Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are cast-in-place concrete walls that are sandwiched between two layers of insulation material, mostly expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation forms. The foam blocks are used as interlocking blocks, connected with steel reinforcing rods. They offer well-insulated, airtight, energy-efficient building enclosures.
How are ICFs energy-efficient?
In terms of energy related high-performance, ICFs are efficient in two main ways. First, they seal very well, preventing air leakage through the walls. Second, they have two continuous layers of insulation-one inside and the other outside with no thermal bridges. Most importantly, this is a great mechanism to reduce the air infiltration and thereby, heat loss.
How are ICFs installed in homes?
ICFs are premade block structures that fit together like lego pieces. As in, they have interlocking structures that lock into each other seamlessly. The outside of the form is flat sheets of foam insulation. These sheets are connected with plastic framework. During construction, the ICF blocks are fitted together, laced with rebar, and filled with concrete. This concrete holds the blocks tightly.
ConcreteNetwork.com states, “Homes built with ICF walls require about 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than a comparable wood-frame house, based on a study of 58 single-family homes located throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
How are ICFs weather-resistant?
ICFs are highly resistant to earthquake/hurricane prone areas as they absorb shocks as well as withstand winds in excess of 250mph. As a result, they are greatly suitable for regions prone to severe weather because of their strong impact resistance.
Nexcem ICF blocks
Nexcem standard non-thermal ICF block units have an insulation value of R-8 to R-12. Block thickness and inherent insulation properties of the Nexcem material determine the R-value. These units have a range of insulation values from R14 to R28+ (thermal mass not included). The higher R values are achieved by incorporated mineral fiber insulation inserts within the cavity of the ICF concrete unit at the time of manufacture. As a consequence, the thickness of the insert incorporated will determine the overall R value of the wall assembly.
How are Nexcem blocks different?
The choice to use mineral fiber insulation is deliberate because of its non-combustible and moisture resistant properties that complement the Nexcem material. Mineral fiber is a great alternative to Styrofoam. Nexcem is a leading non-styrofoam insulated concrete form manufacturer. The insulation inserts in Nexcem thermal blocks are positioned toward the exterior of the wall which results in additional protection and energy efficiency that is not possible with other insulated concrete forms. Since the R-values for the thermal units are based on the unit type, you can choose the optimal insulation value based on the requirements of your specific application.
Nexcem blocks’ R-value range between between R-8 and R-28. The Nexcem material has an R-value of 1.75 per inch. This means that all Wall Forms regardless of thickness have a basic R-value of R-8.2. The R-value of the 10?, 12? and 14? units can be increased by incorporating additional insulation inserts into the Wall Form at the time of manufacture.
However, Nexcem also incorporates other ICF concrete material inserts (such as poly-isocyanurate) for higher R-values upon special request. Incorporating non-standard insulation inserts could achieve an R-value up to R-40.
What does this partnership between Internorm by NeuFenster windows/doors and Nexcem ICF blocks bring to the table?
According to Imre Máté, the Director of Business Development of Internorm By NeuFenster, “it is of at most importance to build quality structures to fulfill the desires of the customers in terms of security, comfort and yet be sustainable. The partnership between Internorm by NeuFenster and Nexcem ICF is a bridge creating a system and an envelope that is symbiotic and effective in creating high-performance Passive House standard homes. In conclusion, without stronger and better insulated walls, installing high-performance windows is not effective and similarly, choosing to install ICF walls without better insulated windows is a futile investment!”
Further, this partnership stresses harnessing of the concept of ‘thermal mass’ to regulate the internal temperature of the homes. Above all, this will enhance the energy performance of our living spaces. In addition, it aims at reducing the negative impact on the environment and save energy bills in the long run.
A Call for other ICF manufacturers to partner with Internorm by NeuFenster
Internorm By NeuFenster would like to take the opportunity to call for other ICF manufacturers to partner with us and hence, lend us a hand in building quality homes in Canada.
Therefore, partnerships between quality products’ is very crucial to build a quality housing community.
Please contact us if you are an ICF manufacturer in Canada who wants to partner with us.
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