Insulated Concrete Form Net Zero House

Insulated Concrete Form Net Zero House

Insulated Concrete Form Home for Outstanding Energy Efficiency This insulated concrete form,  one bedroom, one bath home was a departure from our standard super insulated home building techniques. Instead of using typical framing materials and thick walls filled with cellulose, the owner chose to use ICF’s or Insulated Concrete Forms to build the basement and first floor walls. ICF’s are basically like Styrofoam lego blocks that you fill with concrete. This creates a super insulated envelope. The owner used his engineering background to carefully think through how to get this home to perform at a near net zero level (the home produces as much energy as it uses) while avoiding the use of any fossil fuels. One of the keys to this was taking advantage of all the thermal mass in the house including a 4 inch thick concrete slab floor (the house is one story with a full basement) which is heated with direct sunlight and radiant tubing running through the slab heated with an on demand electric heating system. The electric heating is offset by a roof mounted net metered array of solar voltaic cells. A woodstove also sits in the center of the house but is only needed for short periods even on very cold days because the house will quickly overheat due to the high R values of the walls and ceilings. Careful attention was given to air sealing the house which is equipped with a complete air exchange heat recovery (HRV) system to ensure a high standard of air quality and moisture control during the months when windows are closed. The house is further warmed by a sunroom off the one bedroom in the house. Warm air from this room is pulled in by the air exchange heat recovery system (HRV) and by opening the windows that open out into the sunroom from the bedroom. How many folks do you know who open their windows in the winter to warm up! Besides all the high energy efficiency engineering that went into this project, the house features Marmoleum floors over the concrete, a number of custom maple built-ins and hickory kitchen cabinets. The siding is fiber cement board with Miratec trim and all the ICF exposed above grade had stucco applied using a recycled fiberglass reinforced stucco product (Oro Coatings). Because the house is small and was fairly labor intensive to build, it came in at around $195 per square foot (not including the solar electric panels, design and site...

Read More