ICFs are hollow "blocks" or "panels" made of plastic foam that construction crews stack into the shape of the walls of a building. The workers then fill the center with reinforced concrete to create the structure. There are over 20 brands of ICFs in North America, each with some variations in design and materials. Energy savings: the greater insulation, tighter construction, and temperature-smoothing mass of the walls conserve heating and cooling energy much better than conventional wood-frame walls. Estimated annual heating savings Comfort and quiet: the thick ICF sandwich of a massive material (concrete) with a light one (foam) sharply cuts fluctuations in temperature, air infiltration, and noise. Wind resistance: the Wind Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, compared the impact resistance of residential concrete wall construction to conventionally framed walls. The frame walls failed to stop the penetration of airborne hazards. The concrete walls successfully demonstrated the strength and mass to resist the impact of wind driven debris. Fire resistance: of all construction materials, concrete is one of the most resistant to heat and fire.
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