In San Fuego, I noted the use of insulated concrete forms in the construction of a new home. This method isn't used much in Aruba. Over the years, I've looked into it as a possible system to build a home here. The strength and insulation are very impressive.
Our house in Canada is totally ICF. We built it 11 years ago. It is has lots of windows, is very warm in the winter time (but now I "don't do winter!!!!), sound proof and R2000 to boot. It was completed in 10 weeks, including a finished basement.
Let me (or Bill) know if you'd like more details.
We built our house in Florida using polysteel - styrofoam and stainless steel blocks filled with concrete - the house holds its temperatures very well. When my friends are "punching the heat" because it got cold overnight we are still okay.
In so many ways; ICF home construction reduces the consumption of energy. These are the most air-tight homes on the market. The concrete absorbs solar heat and slowly releases it so heat is distributed evenly throughout the home. The average energy consumption reduction is 35-60% below conventional wood frame houses. The houses use fewer natural resources to heat them and they will last quite literally for centuries.
ICF homes are a superior system to wood framed or steel framed homes.* Once the exterior walls are poured they are ready for finishing (on the inside and out).
* They are extremely durable and they don't cost much more than a traditional framed home.
* Finding subcontractors may be a challenge, but if you are planning to live in your home for many years, ICF homes are the only choice to make.
The big secret that more and more builders, architects, engineers and homeowners are beginning to uncover is the new advances in concrete homes constructed using Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) construction technology.
Raw plastic beads are molded into one of several basic form types. Some of these forms look like hollow blocks that you stack and interlock like big "Lego's". Others use panels that are held at a constant distance apart by a series of plastic ties.
The ultimate fire resistance insofar that some insurance companies decide to give a 20% (or more) discount on a homeowners' policy.* Healthy indoor air quality, essentially free from dust and pollen.
* A guarantee to never get dry-rot, or be infested by termites or carpenter ants.
* Recycled material components that save in average 15 trees per home when constructed.
* Reduced exterior wall sound transmission by more than 65% so barking dogs, lawn mowers, and even airplanes are reduced to a whisper.
* The most amazing thing of all, is that this technology is available right here, right now and it costs only a little more than a conventional wood built house.
There are many advantages of using ICFs to build your home, but ICFs are not new technology. In fact ICFs have been around for the better part of 20 years. They have, however, come a long way since then and they are gaining popularity now with more people demanding more energy efficient homes.