A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

Has anyone on this forum have tried to build a GREEN home ?
I have been hearing more and more builders/contractors are talking them out of using ICF`s in homes. ICF= Insulated Concrete Forms.
They are telling people that the cost is too high. Using ICF`s should never be much over 3% in costs, and they are not figuring in the reduced labor cost. Also, the HVAC will cost less due to need of a smaller unit.

The biggest factor is the energy savings of 50%-80% per year.
My humble advice treat your home ideas like a car, check with someone that has one, go SEE one for yourself, ask about energy costs just like asking the MPG on a car.

Tags: ICF`s

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Gang:

I was part of the group that built the first LEED-certified single-family residence in Marion County. We chose a panel-built system (not SIPS) and did on-site spray foam insulation. It was a cost/benefit decision.

I am currently working on a project with a group to produce smaller, more affordable, hyper-efficient homes in the local market. We're getting preliminary numbers on a few different systems, and it looks like SIPS panels are the most cost effective for the size home we're looking at (1200-1800 sq. ft).

joe shoemaker
SIPS ? why?
The most effective and cost effective is ICF`s hands down, you can`t afford NOT to use ICF`s
The cost is higher for an ICF structured home primarily because it breaks with convention and therefore requires a specialized set of skills that not just any crew can do. Subs for the conventional aspects of the house (siding, drywall, and all mechanical contractors) charge more to integrate with ICF's. Additionally, traditional framing material costs have remained steady, while concrete and steel (for the enormous amount of rebar required for ICF) have seen huge price hikes over the last few years. Portland cement and steel both require enormous amounts of energy to produce and transport relative to wood.

I am interested in seeing Hoosiers jump into the straw bale housing industry which has been a huge success out west. And maybe even some cob houses!
Aaron my question - why are the subs wanting to charge more for "integration" when it is easier and faster.
I would have to challenge you on one thing, using ICF`s does not require a specialized set of skills.
I am aware of steel and concrete prices are high, but when you spend more manhours on a project labor can add up fast and in some cases labor is more expensive than material.
For rural builders who "do it all" (footer to finish) ICFs are probably a good option. For general contractors who hire single trade subs who offer the best quality and are the most efficient at what they do, ICFs simply drive up cost. Examples: the average two-story, 2000 sq ft house is stick framed and ready for shingles, siding and mechanicals in just two weeks with a crew of 6. Electricians will always charge a premium to cut into EPS foam for Romex and and boxes. Most sheetrockers have an upcharge for fastening to anything other than wood. And plumbers scratch their heads when they can't run a pipe vent though the exterior wall that the kitchen sink abutts, and have to violate code to reach an interior wall. Vinyl and wood siding crews charge extra for using screws, and worry about liability if told it's OK to use nails on the plastic ICF nailers. When ICFs become conventional in Indiana, and subs are more acquainted with integrating into the system, then cost will come down.
I helped build a straw bale structure in Northern Indiana and would like to see that trend as well......I have been told on many occassions that Indiana is not the ideal environment due to climate change...what are your thoughts?
Hey Wendy --fantastic that you were able to work on a straw bale project! I'd love to hear more about it. I am moving the rest of this response over to the Greener Construction Techniques Group forum, so please check over there for the rest of my thoughts....
i'm in laporte county and am interested in having a small intentional community here. i haven;t checked building codes here, but it would be great to build various alternative homes here. i really like strawbale, so am interested in this also. how long ago was this home you helped with built and how is it holding up. i also am interested in earthships and think the closest one is in ohio at a nature center.
Yes, it would make it a little more digestable(strawbale), But here is the TRUE kicker, "do what saves more energy in the long run with sustainability ! ICF`s are the way to go.
I have several crews that are mastering it fast, my friends it is cheaper, with really less skilled crew.
While this comment is rather old I would like to catch up on the conversation here, you pack a fair amount of incite and logic into one statement that I agree with. I have done a fair amount of research on the topics of ICFs , Preformed-insulated panels, and STRAWBALE construction. From a sustainability point of view parcels of Straw producing agriculture combined with comparatively smaller portions of Rebar and Portland make a much more digestible dent on Earths Crust.

--This comment is intended to reply to Aaron K Above {"The cost is higher for an ICF structured home primarily because it breaks with convention and therefore requires a specialized set of skills that not just any crew can do. Subs for the conventional aspects of the house (siding, drywall, and all mechanical contractors) charge more to integrate with ICF's. Additionally, traditional framing material costs have remained steady, while concrete and steel (for the enormous amount of rebar required for ICF) have seen huge price hikes over the last few years. Portland cement and steel both require enormous amounts of energy to produce and transport relative to wood.

I am interested in seeing Hoosiers jump into the straw bale housing industry which has been a huge success out west. And maybe even some cob houses!" ( left by Aaron K on December 2, 2008 at 7:34pm}--
Isn't the true beauty of the sustainability of an ICF in its long term energy savings?
Aaron my question - why are the subs wanting to charge more for "integration" when it is easier and faster.
I would have to challenge you on one thing, using ICF`s does not require a specialized set of skills.
I am aware of steel and concrete prices are high, but when you spend more manhours on a project labor can add up fast and in some cases labor is more expensive than material.

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