Building a structure with Insulated Concrete Forms is an option for pursuing a number of health and energy benefits. This article is about the potential to maximize indoor air quality by using ICF components in residential and commercial buildings. Stress from noise pollution and health problems related to poor indoor air quality are issues all builders and developers can mitigate by making the right choices in structural materials.
Poor indoor air quality in homes and commercial buildings in the United States causes millions of mild to serious health problems each year. The more-serious problems, like fevers and fatigue, hurt productivity. In hospitals, those same problems are a particular threat to patients.
The EPS Industry Alliance lists a number of reasons to use ICF building materials. Choosing ICF for a building brings at least three health advantages, in addition to reducing energy use:
- Improved indoor air – ICF buildings are less drafty because the structure provides a superior barrier to outside air. This obviously cuts down on heating and cooling costs. The indoor air stays a little cleaner as well, because fewer allergens enter the building and get blown around by the HVAC system. Even a small improvement on that front can be helpful to many people.
- Sound reduction – In commercial buildings and multi-family properties the reduction in noise pollution can make for a more-pleasant living and working space. In cities, the dense ICF blocks cut down on street noise too. Buildings with ICF walls are highly resistant to storm damage for the same reason.
- Allergy-free materials – ICF blocks don’t emit CFCs or formaldehyde. These compounds, as well as other preservatives and additives outgas, triggering allergic reactions and otherwise lowering indoor air quality. These are commonly found in traditional treated lumber used for conventional construction.
In summary, ICF buildings are superior in several ways to buildings that use wood products and traditional insulation materials in the walls.