Benefits of ICF

Benefits of Building with ICFs

icf_temperature_diagramICFs combine simplicity, strength, and energy efficiency.

Performance Advantages
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Thermal Comfort
Safety & Security
  • Structural Stability
  • Codes


Building Green

icf_building_greenSustainable Design

Designing and building with ICFs help attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building status. Consult manufacturers for reports on possible point attainment under LEED®.

“The LEED® (Leadership in Energy Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.”

Not only are insulated concrete form structures, stronger, safer, more energy efficient and faster to build, they contribute significantly to a “Greener” building envelope. When you build with ICF’s you will be saving valuable environmental resources. With technological design advances in some brands of ICFs, it allows for minimal waste during the construction process, reducing the amount of waste sent to our landfills.

ICFs combines the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam with reinforced concrete, creating a home that is extremely moisture resistant. The ICF wall system eliminates gaps where mold forms, unlike traditional building methods where moisture gets trapped during the building phase. The ICF shell offers tight construction allows operational equipment to heat, cool and ventilate your home more efficiently, creating a healthier living environment. The operating efficiency provided by ICFs makes the air in your building cleaner to breath.

Performance Advantages

The performance advantages of Insulated Concrete Form Wall Systems include energy efficiency, thermal comfort, structural stability, and exceed code requirements.

ICF wall systems have been chosen by architects, engineers, builders, developers and contractors all over the world as a proven building alternative to traditional methods. ICFs offers construction professionals an ideal, balance of quality, speed, flexibility, cost and ease of use.

Energy Efficiency

  • ICF walls offer superior energy efficiency.
  • ICFs combine the thermal mass (ability to store temperature) of concrete with the insulation (ability to hold temperature) of the ICF block.


thermalmassgraphThermal Comfort

  • ICF walls offer superior thermal comfort.
  • The high thermal mass of the concrete walls regulate daily temperature swings, keeping the building more comfortable throughout the day.
  • The interior surface of the EPS is relatively close to the interior ambient temperature.

Structural Stability

  • icf_blast_testicf_blast_test_resultExplosion tests conducted by the Department of Defense and ICFA
    • Charges equal to 100 lbs
    • TNT detonated at distances of 10 to 40 feet away
    • ICF material damaged but integrity of the concrete wall still intact
  • icf_huricane_houseicf_blast_test_comparisonGreater impact resistance against natural disasters
    • Hurricane and tornado damaging winds and debris with wall designs with wind loads in excess of 250 MPH
    • Solid monolithic ICF concrete walls can be designed to meet seismic requirements more easily than concrete block


  • icf_temperature_diagramEnergy Efficient
    • “Thermal Mass Effect” enables an R22 insulation value to perform equivalent to a low mass wall up to R50.
  • Efficient Sound Barrier
    • 6” concrete core provides an STC of 50.
    • Can easily be adapted to as high as STC 71 or more


  • icf_lateral_resistanceSuperior Wind Resistance
    • Greater impact resistance against hurricane and tornado damaging winds and debris
    • Wall designs with wind loads in excess of 250 MPH
  • icf_flame_testSuperior Fire Resistance
    • 6” concrete cores resist up to 4-hour fire resistance rating meeting ASTM E-119
    • ICFs are composed of non-combustible self-extinguishing materials
    • Code dictates all foam plastics be protected with a thermal barrier
    • Exterior of multi-story buildings must be protected from flame propagation

  • icf_fungus_test_reportSuperior Mold Resistance
    • EPS foam will not propagate mold growth
    • Passes all fungi resistance testing

ICF Cost Savings

K-12 School Case Studies provide valuable insight into maximizing return (ROI). ICF construction is becoming a critical link to their success.

A recent article in School Plant Management Magazine showcases Richardsville Elementary, a project in Bowling Green Kentucky, utilizing Insulated Concrete Form Technology.

Featured Projects

Richardsville Elementary

icf_net_zero_schoolicf_masonryThe nations’ first Net-Zero School, Richardsville Elementary was built using ICF technology as mentioned in the article link above.

icf_school_alvatonAlvaton Elementary School – Completed 2006

Warren County Schools
Bowling Green, Kentucky
750 Student Capacity – 77,000 SF

High Performance Features:

  • ICF exterior wall construction
  • First ICF school in the nation
  • Geothermal heating and cooling
  • Sandwich panel metal roof system – R30 insulation value
  • Lighting and HVAC motion sensors
  • Daylighting