Eco-Friendly, Sustainable ICF Construction

ICF Construction is a Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Option for Residential and Light Commercial Construction

by Joe Harnois

Feb 6, 2024

There are many advantages to insulated concrete form (ICF) construction, from ease of installation to faster project completion.  But did you know that ICF construction is also part of a sustainable, green building strategy that helps architects, engineers and designers create buildings that use fewer natural resources, are more energy efficient, and have lasting value?

Sustainable Features of ICF Construction
ICF construction results in durable, resilient structures that are environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout the building’s lifecycle; from the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition phase.

  • Reduced Construction Waste: ICF construction generates less waste compared to traditional construction methods, generating as little as 1% construction waste. And, any waste produced is 100% recyclable. Reduced waste minimizes the environmental impact associated with construction.
  • Insulation Material: The primary component of ICFs is the expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulating material. EPS foam is recyclable and does not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). ICFs are manufactured without the use of CFCs or HCFCs. ICFs are also lightweight, reducing transportation energy compared to more traditional, heavier building materials.
  • Recyclability: Nudura® ICFs are made of fully recyclable expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam connected with a web system that’s made of 100% recycled polypropylene and steel. The combination of durable, recycled materials and concrete has the potential for ICF structures to survive for hundreds of years, increasing their sustainable contribution over time.
  • Energy Efficiency: ICF construction provides excellent thermal insulation, resulting in reduced energy consumption for heating and cooling. This energy efficiency can significantly lower a home’s or building’s environmental footprint over its lifetime. A standard Nudura ICF wall creates a tightly sealed building envelope with an overall R-value of R-24 to R-50, depending on the thickness of the chosen forms and concrete core. This means a building can maintain steady, even temperatures longer, providing added comfort for home and building owners, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage by up to 60%.
  • Durability: ICF structures are known for their durability and longevity, which can reduce the need for frequent repairs or replacements. This contributes to sustainability by extending the life of the building and reducing the consumption of additional materials.
  • Indoor Air Quality: ICFs can contribute to better indoor air quality by reducing the potential for moisture intrusion and mold growth. The tight building envelope that results with ICF construction also helps to deter pollen and other allergens from entering the building. Improved indoor air quality is a sustainable benefit that supports the health and well-being of home and building occupants.
  • Green Building Certifications: ICF construction can contribute to achieving green building certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and other sustainable building standards, recognizing environmentally responsible construction practices.

Learn More about the Sustainability Features of Nudura ICF

ICFS are the Future of Net Zero Buildings
Richardsville Elementary School, built with Nudura ICFs, was the first net zero school in the US.

Photo courtesy of TREMCO CPG, Inc

Building an Energy-Efficient Cabin with Nudura® Insulated Concrete Forms
Laughner Residence is a cabin-style ICF home built in the scenic mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado.