The Insulating Concrete Form Association (ICFA) has honored 15 outstanding individual projects with its  2009-2010 Excellence Awards. 

The ICFA Excellence Award is the premier industry recognition for the most innovative and noteworthy ICF projects of the year.  Project categories include Commercial & Residential, both large and small and a Sustainability Award.  The ICFA encourages applications from throughout the industry, including ICF manufacturers, distributors, contractors and developers and the design community.  Projects must be completed (ready for occupancy) and must have been built within the last three years.

This year’s Excellence Awards winners demonstrate remarkable progress made in the ICF industry.  Energy savings of over 50% were common. Passive solar was integrated into design, along with supplementary renewable energy for buildings.  ICF construction provided the cornerstone for these savings by not only providing the solid thermal building evelope but also design opportunities due to the structural flexibility of ICFs, and fire and sound protection as well as resistance to storm winds.


The 2009/10 ICFA Excellence Award winners are:

Carleton College Dorms
Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Architect:  Maureen A. Ness, LHB
General Contractor:  Al Lenter, JE Dunn Construction
ICF Manufacturer: Reward Wall Systems
ICF Distributor: Kevin Hofmeister, Cemstone Products Company
ICF Installer: Allen Skoquist, Northland Concrete & Masonry

The two Carleton College dorms, 52,150 sq. ft. and 39, 376 sq. ft., contain 56 double occupancy rooms, 26 single occupancy rooms, with 21 suites and 9 full kitchens. The design team selected ICFs to help achieve optimal energy efficiency, to meet a tight construction schedule and to create optimal use of indoor spaces. The exterior walls are 100% ICF with a brick finish and a steel-framed roof. ICF load bearing walls were used in conjunction with hollow core precast floor slabs to create an efficient structural design. 

 Low energy use electric fans replaced A/C requirements due the special occupancy of the buildings (college residence halls occupied late August thru April). No HVAC mechanical systems were required due to the energy efficiency of ICFs and an in-floor radiant heating system that uses steam supplied from a regional steam generation plant .  Individual rooms have side panel electric heating and energy meters. The energy meters offer real time streaming energy use segmented by room so residents can see how much energy they use.  Total building energy consumption modeling was performed during design phase to determine energy consumption and it was determined that total energy consumption of the building would be 28% less than the baseline model although final energy use will depend on the residents.

Additional contributions to the sustainable features of the dorms include the use of a 50% recycled fly-ash in the concrete for the ICF walls, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the concrete.  Also the project used reclaimed wood, installed a solar thermal hot water system and a PV system to offset electrical use.

The project was constructed in fall and winter of 2008-2009 and proceeded on schedule since ICFs can be installed in extreme cold conditions. Students were able to move in on time for the start of the school year.

Sustainability – Silver
Granite Hill Home
Kingsley, Michigan

Sustainability – Bronze
Vineyard Project
Paw Paw, Michigan

Central Avenue Villas
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Architect:  Anthony McDermit, TAP Architecture
General Contractor:  Jeff Vanhoose, Vanhoose Construction Company
ICF Manufacturer: BuildBlock Building Systems, LLC
ICF Distributor: Caleb Brown, Insulating Concrete Homes & Commercial Structures
ICF Installer: ICF Builders, ICF/ICF Direct

These villas were designed to take advantage of the strength of ICF concrete walls. The building has 8-inch core slab concrete floors and exterior ICF walls. The ICF portion of each level was installed in ten working days allowing the entire structural shell, floors and walls to be completed in only six weeks. 

This structure utilizes clip-on balconies allowing a unit to have a balcony added at anytime.  Elevator shafts, stairwell walls and corridor walls were designed with ICFs to meet stringent fire code standards.  Corridor walls act as a fire barrier, sound mitigation and load bearing walls for core slabs above.  ICF construction proved to be a cost effective method to build a fire rated wall assembly directly abutting an existing structure. ICFs were used to support heavy loads on narrow columns between windows and beams in between floors. ICF parapet walls enclosing the third level communal balcony integrate unobtrusively with the core structure.

The developer promoted not only the ICFs’ energy efficiency of ICFs but also protection from tornadoes and  acoustical qualities. The Central Avenue villas lie between I-235 and I-40 in downtown Oklahoma City yet traffic noise is nonexistent inside. 

Other ‘green’ features include a hybrid geothermal heating system that circulates the waste heat from the HVAC air exchanges through a coil in the hot water system to pre-heat the hot water supply.  A fly-ash mixture was used in the concrete to lower the overall carbon footprint. Every window and door is low E, argon filled glass. Low VOC paints were used to finish all interior walls. All exterior brick work , core slab floors, case work, cabinetry and molding was produced locally to reduce transportation related emissions. Low flow plumbing fixtures and high efficiency toilets were installed in every unit. The carpets are made from 100% recycled plastic, ceiling tiles contain 39-65% recycled content, and the galvanized steel vertical shingles are 100% recycled material. All exterior lighting is high efficiency Energy Star rated.

Large Commercial  – Silver
Emma B. Ward Elementary School
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Large Commercial – Bronze
Waterside Towers at Lake Norris
Andersonville, Tennessee

Yawkey Sports Training Facility 
Location: Marlborough, Massachusetts
Architect: John Weaver, DiGiorgio Associates, Inc.
General Contractor: Rioch McNamara, Columbia Construction Company
ICF Manufacturer: Reward Wall Systems
ICF Distributor: Richard Demetrius, Massachusetts Building
ICF Installer:  Richard Demetrius, Massachusetts Building Products

The Yawkey Sport Training Center for the Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) is a state-of-the art 25,000 sq.ft. facility and athletic fields located on a five-acre site. This new building houses executive offices and 4,000 sq.ft. of flexible classroom space with a gymnasium located on the north side of the building. The new SOMA headquarters facility will enable the organization to better serve more than 10,000 athletes who participate in 118 athletic competitions in 26 sports.

Energy conservation and winter construction initially were the main reasons for using ICFs.  By using ICFs, the design team and builders were able to simplify construction, reducing materials and scaling back on extra labor to get the building in use faster. The insulating properties of ICFs also helped keep construction schedules on time, as work continued and concrete was poured in December and January with average temperatures under 35 degrees.

Energy conservation was the key benefit from the ICFs; the effective insulating R-value increased to R-32. In a cold climate such as Massachusetts, ICFs become even more important by saving energy and providing a healthier and better controlled interior climate.

The SOMA Yawkey Facility will serve as an inspiration for ICF growth in the Northeast. The facility will be the site of a medical education program for treating patients with intellectual disabilities, through a partnership that SOMA formed with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, further exposing the ICF building technology to users of the facility. This project also has been highlighted within the Special Olympics community.

Small Commercial  – Silver
Dunkin’ Donuts
St. Petersburg, Florida

Small Commercial – Bronze
The Table in the Wilderness
Laramie, Wyoming

Vineyard Project
Location: Paw Paw, Michigan
Architect:  Eric A. Hughes, Image Design, LLC
General Contractor:  Adam Bearup, Hybrid Homes, LLC
ICF Manufacturer: BuildBlock Building Systems, LLC
ICF Distributor: Dave Russell, Wall Tech Products, LLC
ICF Installer: Jake Vierzen, R-Value Concrete Structures, LLC

The home owners wanted an environmentally friendly home and decided on the use of ICF construction for their retirement home after meeting the architect and general contractor. They wanted energy efficiency and ICFs allowed the design team to plan the most energy efficient house possible.  In fact it was rated as the most energy efficient house in Michigan (HERS Score of 34).

ICFs were used from the footings to the trusses. The structural exterior walls are 100% ICF. The home was designed to ICF specifications and to eliminate scrap with successful results.

The building site was perfect for passive solar. By using ICFs in a house designed for passive solar, the heat from the sun during the cold months was captured and contained well into the night to limit the run time of the heating system. In warm months, the house is shaded with overhangs and the ICF walls hold those cooling effects most of the day.

The team designed a floor system that would carry the load of concrete main floors. There are over 1,900 sq. ft. of stained concrete on the main floors that act as a thermal mass, an important part of the geo-thermal radiant heat system and the passive solar design. Including the ICFs, the concrete floors and the concrete countertops, there is over 200 yards of concrete in the home. The concrete is 40% fly-ash, reducing the carbon footprint.

In addition to the ICF construction, other sustainable features of the home include:
• Lifetime Design (Barrier Free)
•  Energy Star skylights, windows, lighting and appliances
• Concrete floors throughout the house and kitchen countertops
•  No-VOC Paints and primers.
• Passive Solar Design and solar hot water
• 3.3 kW of Photovoltaic
• Pre-wired for a future Wind Generator.

Large Residential  – Silver
Baronne Residence
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

Large Residential  – Bronze
Vissers Residence
Orlando, Florida

Granite Hill
Location: Kingsley, Michigan
Architect:  Eric A. Hughes, Image Design, LLC
General Contractor:  Joel Diotte, Frontier Group, LLC
ICF Manufacturer: Buildblock Building Systems, LLC
ICF Distributor: Dave Russell, Wall Tech Products, LLC
ICF Installer: Joel Diotte, Frontier Group, LLC

The “Granite Hill Project” was the show home for the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair and hundreds of people toured the home over a three day period.

The home is situated in the middle of a 40 acre field next to a hill of granite boulders. ICF construction was perfect for this project because of its exposed building location. Construction started on Christmas Eve Day and continued during the worst Michigan winter weather in 30 years. 

This home is a site specific, passive solar Arts & Craft style home using ICFs for all bearing walls. The exterior elevations of the home were designed with deeper roof overhangs, determined by using solar calculations, to both maximize and minimize the sun exposure based on the time of year. The interior of the home has stained concrete floor and re-claimed tile on main level of the home. The home was also designed with lifetime design principles and has zero step entries.

The “Granite Hill Project” was designed to be a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) and a Carbon Neutral Home.  The home has no mechanical heating or cooling system. Passive solar heating is complemented with a masonry unit heater and baseboard electric heat, resulting in a Zero Carbon Emissions Home that does not rely on fossil fuel.

LEED "Gold" certification for this home is pending.  The house received 5+ Energy Star certification and a HERS score of 52. This home will be 48% more efficient than typical construction of a similar home of this size.

Small Residential  – Silver
Rodriquez Residence
Bellevue, Idaho

Small Residential  – Bronze
JSI Construction, Inc. Model Home
Kennewick, Washington