Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), combining the strength and durability of reinforced concrete with the versatility and energy efficiency of rigid insulation, provide an ideal solution for commercial and institutional buildings. With a lower first cost than wood and steel construction, ICFs improve occupant safety, fire resistance and noise transmission for office, hospital, school and retail buildings, among others. This article will address how the thermal properties of ICFs, combining the high R-value of rigid insulation with the thermal mass of concrete, offer building owners significant energy savings over the long term. The article will also provide guidance on how to minimize the cost of ICF construction to take full advantage of these benefits, resulting in investments that are secure and generate long-term value.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the basic design criteria and construction elements of commercial and institutional buildings built with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)
  • Demonstrate and recognize the energy efficiency characteristics and economic benefits of building with ICFs
  • Understand the contribution concrete makes to a building’s resilience to fire, flood, wind and earthquakes
  • Identify ways that ICF concrete construction can contribute efficiencies to the on-site construction phase of the project and to long-term efficiencies during the operational phase