To the question, “Why should I build using ICF’s,” the answer in a nutshell is, “That’s a much better way to build.”
Energy efficiency is the predominant reason to build using Insulating Concrete Forms. Numerous sources document a nominal 50% savings in the energy required to heat and cool a home, even in the South.
Structural Strength and Integrity of an ICF home is vastly superior to that of conventional construction, whether it be 2″ X 4″, 2 X 6″, or concrete block or brick construction. With the reinforcing steel, rebar, that is placed both horizontally and vertically in an ICF wall before the concrete fills the wall, it will withstand hurricane or gale force winds.
Sound Attenuation is often a subtle thing, especially if you live in a quiet neighborhood. But even during stormy weather, the quietness of an ICF house is very nice.
I once carried three principals of a development company into an ICF house under construction on a point on Lake Keowee during a howling March wind. When we closed the front door, one said to the other two, “Did you hear that?” “The wind is whistling Dixie outside, but I don’t hear a thing.” That experience was one factor in landing a years long agreement to build townhouse demising walls in Greenville for the development company.
Termite and Rodent Resistance
Zero Air Infiltration. Really, how much air would you expect to come through 6 inches of concrete? Air infiltration is often a major factor in heat loss, e.g. the air movement you might feel from an electrical outlet, or around a window.
No wall cavity for mold, mildew, rodents or bugs
Debris and Impact Resistant. Early in my ICF career I asked for an appointment with the Pickens County Code Officer. I have found that inspectors are much more accepting of new practices, e.g. ICF construction, if they are informed ahead of time. The officer asked what I wanted to talk about. When I told him I wanted to build an ICF home for a customer, he said, “You don’t need to come and talk to me about that. We consider ICF homes to be ‘inspector safe.’ They are bullet proof.”
I have thought about that a few times since when I read news reports of bullets penetrating homes from the street, or from one apartment to the other.
Rot and decay are eliminated.