Sustainable or green building practices promote the construction of buildings that are healthier for the occupants and healthier for the environment. They reduce the tremendous impact that building construction, operation, maintenance, and disposal have on both people and nature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40-50% of the world's total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water. The building industry is the nation's largest manufacturing activity, representing more than 50% of the nation's wealth.
A recent report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) promotes Green Building for the Biggest, Easiest Cuts in CO2 Emissions. Energy-saving technologies applied in buildings can result in enormous reductions in demand for fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases, usually with long-term net income (not cost)!
Insulated Concrete Forms are one key technology because they provide an ultra-efficient, high mass, high strength, and very durable building shell that keeps occupants healthy and comfortable.
A Quad-Lock building is:
Rebuilding after a natural disasters, such as a hurricane or tornado, can be a daunting task. With the Quad-Lock Concrete Building System you can turn the devastation into an opportunity to invest in stronger, healthier, and energy-efficient buildings that increase occupant safety, reduce costs of insurance, maintenance and reconstruction, and cut their environmental footprint and energy costs.
|- Borrower finances 100% of Building Upgrades - 4.25% 30-year mortgage||Traditional Home & Mortgage||Quad-Lock Home & Energy-Efficient Mortgage|
|Energy, Resilience, IEQ Upgrade Costs||---||$21,000|
|Monthly Mortgage Payment (P & I)||$1,160||$1,263|
|Monthly Heating & Cooling Cost||$300||$150|
|Monthly Insurance Cost||$150||$100|
|Total Monthly Payments||$1,610||$1,513|
A much Better Building for Less with the upgrades paid for!
So even after paying for the additional cost of Quad-Lock and other matching upgrades, you're still saving over $1,000/year without even considering higher resale values, health, productivity, inflation, nor any incentives. Unfortunately the traditional construction-industry model has a serious flaw: usually construction is very focused on reducing First-Cost of a building without adequately addressing the much higher Operating Costs (nor Indoor Environmental Quality "IEQ") that the owner and occupants will have to bear for the long lifetime of the building. This conflicts with the goals of the owner/operator and inhabitants, who often aren't even aware that most buildings' Total Lifetime Operating Costs (60-95%) far exceed First-Cost (5-40%). To resolve the conflict, you should understand your Total Cost of Building Ownership using your own assumptions about future prices and values, so you can instruct the building team accordingly. In addition to the significant energy-savings of Quad-Lock building shells, many insurance companies now recognize that resilient construction greatly reduces the risks and premiums. In coastal and high-wind areas, those insurance savings alone can create enourmous value for building owners. Summing up the energy + insurance savings and the value of much longer expected life-cycles of reinforced concrete construction, the Total Cost of Building Ownership is usually lower than wood-frame construction, often by astounding amounts. Get much better indoor living comfort, health, safety & productivity while increasing your family's, firm's and community's net worth! Get a Free Comparative Cost Analysis In addition, local, state, and federal authorities and many electric utility companies provide incentives for highly energy efficient construction. Some of them and good resource sites are listed below for the USA and Canada.
More and more lenders provide so-called "Energy Efficient Mortgages" (EEM). These mortgages recognize the fact that highly energy efficient homes cost less to operate. This in effect increases a borrower's income - money in your pocket or to qualify for higher mortgage amounts/shorter terms. Main Steps: Pre-qualify with an EEM Lender (see Dept. of Energy Listing) Evaluation of home's energy efficiency (e.g. inspection by a professional energy rater, see RESnet Rating Providers)
State and local energy programs provide various rebates, incentives, and credits for energy efficient construction to builders and owners. Since so many programs are available, start by contacting your State Energy Office at the DoE's State Energy Program (SEP) website. Also check the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
Also contact your local electric utility company to find out about any energy efficiency rebates, incentives and programs the company may offer for builders or owners. They have become extremely generous in many areas because these programs allow them to significantly delay multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments. The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) is a good starting point.
A multitude of financial and other incentives are available in Canada for energy-efficient new construction and retrofits. A good place to start researching them is the Office of Energy Efficiency. Some of the programs are: Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund Energy Efficiency in New Homes Energy Efficiency in New Commercial Buildings For more info, also refer to the OEE's Directory of Programs or the Incentives Database by Environment Canada, which also include provincial and municipal incentives. Also contact your local utility company to find out about any energy efficiency rebates, incentives and programs the company may offer for builders or owners. They have become extremely generous in many areas because these programs allow them to significantly delay multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments.
Fact or Fiction: "The R-value tells me how much energy my house will use, right?" R-value measures the resistance a material has to heat transfer, this much is true. R-value alone, however, does not fully describe the energy performance of a building. Everyone in the ICF community knows that ICF buildings far outperform framed buildings with comparable stated R-values in terms of energy efficiency and comfort level, but why is that? Let's look at the main factors affecting actual energy performance of a building: Thermal Conduction, Convection, Radiation & Mass. Thermal Conduction is the heat transfer through a material by contact of one molecule to the next. This is the only factor an R-value measures.
Thermal conduction is not the only mode of energy loss in a building. In fact, conduction often contributes less to energy losses in wood frame buildings than convection, which is not even measured by R-values.
Source of energy loss in a wood frame building* Thermal Convection is heat transfer by movement of currents within fluids (or gases). When considering energy performance of buildings, it's the air moving between the inside and outside or "air infiltration". A common measurement is 'Air Changes per Hour' at a blower-door induced pressure differential of 50 Pascal (ACH50). US Energy Star standards for new homes require less than 4-7 ACH50. In comparison, Canadian R-2000 standards are 1.5 ACH50, and Swedish standards are 0.5 ACH50 or less.
Thermal Radiation transfers heat via electromagnetic waves, which for buildings are mostly the sun's rays. Depending on factors like site & location of the building and the prevailing climate, Passive Solar Building Design helps optimize a building's absorption and reflection of solar radiation through solar orientation, placement of windows and shading elements, choice of finishes, and incorporation of thermal mass. Thermal Mass refers to a material's capacity to store heat. Concrete and (Adobe) bricks have high thermal mass, which can act like a battery for heat. The classical use of thermal mass is in desert climates, where outside temperatures swing above inside temperatures during the day and below at night. High mass building shells can store the heat from the outside during the day and release some of that heat to the inside at night - keeping the inside comfortable using almost zero energy. In temperate climates, thermal mass is best used in combination with the principles of passive solar design, e.g. let the winter-sun heat high mass floors through windows.
"No - the R-value of one component alone does not tell you how your building will perform". Remember, the Building Code is only a MINIMUM standard and there are many factors that influence actual energy performance.
Yes - ICF buildings far outperform framed buildings despite similar stated R-values". The secret lies in the combination of reduced conduction & convection, and high thermal mass. The result is a building with a lower appetite for energy and more consistent and comfortable temperatures inside the building.
Every building should be considered from a 'whole system' perspective and designed using an integrated systems approach. Besides walls, roof and slab, windows also have a significant impact on performance since they usually make up 10% to 20% of the total wall area and range widely in energy performance. Energy Raters and some engineers & architects now offer energy modeling services that will paint a much more accurate picture of how your building will actually perform. A small investment in a computer analysis helps in formulating the most energy efficient design to save tens of thousands in energy costs, even hundreds of thousands for larger buildings, over a building's lifetime. Please contact us to get started.
Conventional, recently built Office:
Church with Quad-Lock R-22 ICF (see testimonial, project info):
Light = Warm / High Energy Loss (when heating)
Dark = Cool / Low Energy Loss (when heating)
The images of these two nearby buildings were taken on the same winter day. The Quad-Lock church is largely cool outside due to the efficient walls and efficient windows. The conventional building's walls are almost as warm (light) as its windows - they are heating the environment and we can almost see the dollar bills being thrown out the windows.
With Quad-Lock you can build walls with your choice of insulation value, from R-22 to R-59 - the highest ICF R-Values in North America. Choose the optimum R-Value depending on your local climate and energy-saving goals. High insulation values combine with low air infiltration and the thermal mass of the concrete to keep occupants comfortable, healthy, and productive, while saving significantly on energy costs.
The Quad-Lock Insulated Concrete Forms are infinitely versatile, allowing design and construction flexibility unmatched in other types of concrete forming!
Quad-Lock is an engineered system - designed by builders for builders. Approved by the International Code Council and many other code agencies, and tested by Intertek Testing Services,
Quad-Lock Panels are manufactured from high density, biologically safe, fire retardant expanded polystyrene (EPS). The Quad-Lock Building System will not support combustion. The fire resistance of a finished Quad-Lock wall with 8" concrete thickness is 4 hours per UL tests.
Quad-Lock construction gives you a solid, reinforced concrete wall - your choice of 4 to 12 inches thick. No foam tunnels through the concrete. No thin/thick sections. No worries about rotting. No insects crawling through your walls. Just solid, uniform, insulated concrete walls with standard rebar.
Your local dealer is equipped to answer your questions, prepare detailed estimates, and assist at the jobsite. Local Quad-Lock Field Representatives are also ready to assist with quantity pricing, job site training, product seminars and training. Our Installation Video, Product Manual, and other informative technical and promotional literature tells you exactly how to build with Quad-Lock. Read more about Value & Service.