Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

Taking Form

11/9/2007 12:00:00 AM

Tags:

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

Historic Home Produces More Energy Than It Consumes

For less than the cost of an SUV, a Michigan couple rehabbed their historic home to include solar pa...

Cultivating Community: Community-Supported Agriculture

Through a unique community-supported agriculture program, neighbors in a Boulder, Colorado, subdivis...

The Kitchen Café: Slow-Roast Pork Recipe

Pair this slow-roasted pork shoulder with buttery mashed potatoes or roasted carrots glazed with por...

Editors' Choice: Serenity in Bloom

Influenced by both Asian and European styles, this garden of the decade features a Japanese teahouse...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 58%

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

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.