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  • Writer's pictureGale Force

"1,000 Year Homes"

Homes made with ICF are sometimes called “1,000-year homes” because there’s little to prevent them from surviving intact for hundreds of years. The walls are strong enough to withstand up to 250 mph hurricane winds and tornadoes, earthquakes, and are fire-resistant for up to 4 hours. They’re unlikely to suffer from slow degradation the same way wood-frame walls do, so they stand the test of time.

Here are a few examples of how ICF homes weathered the storm…

ICF Home Survives Hurricane Dorian

One of the worst natural disasters to hit the Bahamas, even Hurricane Dorian could not take down this ICF home on Grand Abaco Island after 36 hours of punishing hurricane winds.

Hurricane Michael Survivor

This ICF home in the Florida Panhandle was virtually the last home standing after 150+ mph hurricane winds hit it. Hurricane Michael completely destroyed 54% of homes in the area and another 23% were severely damaged, even though most Florida homes are built to withstand hurricanes (using concrete block and other systems to withstand wind loads). This home was built only a few hundred feet from the water’s edge and weathered the ferocious wind and storm surge with ease.

Storm Surge and Debris

This Cayman Islands ICF home survived the storm surge from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 despite being battered by cars, rocks, and other debris.

The storm surge forces and battering waves of Super-storm Sandy in 2012 were too much for the homes in Union Beach, New Jersey, but the family who built this ICF rode out the hurricane in their two story home while waves broke on the house itself.

Nontoxic and Healthier Air Quality

ICF contains no HCFC, formaldehyde, fiberglass, or asbestos and doesn’t suffer from off-gassing. And, no harmful CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are used in their manufacture.

ICF walls provide a tight, low air filtration wrap to your home. This is the first step in controlling the indoor air environment.

ICF walls reduce air infiltration by 75%.

  • Eliminate dust mites.

  • Prevent dangerous and costly mold.

  • The effects of hay fever, asthma, and other airborne allergies can be greatly alleviated as a direct result of the reduced leakage of outside air, which brings dust, pollen, and other pollutants.

  • Indoor air pollution is a great health concern today. ICF walls are non-toxic. The measurement of air contents of actual ICF houses shows an almost complete absence of any emissions.

Net Zero

When paired with solar tiles, a home built with insulating concrete forms becomes net zero. The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) defines a net-zero carbon building as one “that is highly energy-efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources.”

Unlike some other countries (like Canada), the United States doesn’t require new homes to be net-zero. However, WorldGBC is dedicated to supporting market transformation toward 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050 to achieve Paris Agreement levels of global emission reductions.

Lower Homeowner’s Insurance Premiums

Since walls made with ICF are so resistant to wind, fire, and flooding, your homeowner’s insurance premium will be lower than it would be with traditional wood-frame walls.

The Home of the Future

As energy codes become more and more stringent, as they are in Canada, we foresee a shift toward ICF or similar high-density exterior wall framing. In Canada, ICF homes are becoming the standard, and we are beginning to see that same trend moving across the states as well. There are several other options for creating a similar R-value to ICF, but none compete in terms of quality, economy, or time savings.

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