Since the increases
in price and decline in quality of North-American lumber
in the early 1990's, the use of ICFs in the U.S. housing
market has skyrocketed . In fact, according to data collected
by the Portland Cement Association, it has become the
fastest growing alternative to wood frame for above-grade
perimeter wall construction. The number of single family homes built from footing to eaves with ICFs has been increasing approximately 25% each year. In 2004, about 60,000 above-grade ICF homes were built in the U.S. About one-third of all ICFs sold are used in above-grade residential construction.
Townhouses and Condominiums represent
a rising and significant application for ICFs. Due to
the necessity for increased firewall protection and
sound deadening between units in these structures, above
grade ICF walls are becoming an increasingly popular
and cost effective option for builders and developers
In cold climates, energy experts tell
us up to 40% of a home's heat loss is through the ground.
ICFs create the perfect basement walls for locking out
winter, and keeping more warm, heated air inside. ICFs
have been used for decades in foundations and basements
throughout North America. Currently, about one-third
of all ICFs sold are used in residential basements.
another third of all ICFs are used in non-residential
construction, both for foundations and for above-grade
walls. In addition to lowering the ongoing operating costs
of the building due to the increase in energy efficiency,
using ICFs for the entire structure can significantly
decrease the construction cycle time, speeding up a project
by weeks or even months. Non-residential uses of ICFs
- for hotels and motels, retail and professional buildings,
warehouses, schools and churches, theaters, and others
- are a rapidly growing application.