Would you like to build a dis­as­ter­re­silient house?

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

The icy winds from last year’s Po­lar Vor­tex are back in mind again as we head to­wards win­ter. The plum­met­ing tem­per­a­tures are one thing, but of more con­cern is the de­struc­tion that th­ese ex­treme weather events can bring, in­clud­ing winds that last year gusted up to 100 kilo­me­tres per hour, threat­en­ing our per­sonal safety, as well as the very foun­da­tion of our homes.

The build­ing in­dus­try does have a proven so­lu­tion how­ever. For more than a decade now, con­struc­tion tech nol­ogy has given us the en­er­gysav­ing op­tion to re­place stan­dard wood fram­ing with an in­ter­lock­ing con­crete sys­tem known as ICFs, or in­su­lated con­crete forms.

“ICFs lock to­gether, a bit like Lego, to de­liver walls that are dis­as­ter-re­silient to storm winds as high as 402 kilo­me­ters per hour,” says Todd Blyth at Nudura, a lead­ing name in this field. “As com­pared to wood, con­crete walls are also a lot more fire-resistant with a 4-hour fire-pro­tec­tion fac­tor—and the su­pe­rior in­su­la­tion prop­erty of the build­ing en­ve­lope gives home­own­ers up to 70 per cent sav­ings on en­ergy bills. This is due to vastly re­duced air infi ltra­tion and to the ther­mal mass of the con­crete, al­low­ing en­ergy-effi ciency rat­ings as high as R-50, com­pared to an av­er­age R20 in wood struc­tures. You can also add op­tional in­serts to the ICF forms to im­prove this ef­fi­ciency even more.”

Specif­i­cally, the walls are con­structed with pre-as­sem­bled, in­ter­lock­ing units so they’re eas­ily trans­ported to any build­ing site. Each form con­sists of two pan­els of thick foam (ex­panded poly­styrene) con­nected with a patented web sys­tem. Guided by the ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign and beauty as­pects you want, the ICFs are stacked, steel re­in­forced, and filled with con­crete un­til the en­tire build­ing en­ve­lope is com­plete.

Inside the home, all of the cre­ative ar­chi­tec­tural shapes like arches, bay win­dows, and high ceil­ings can be achieved—and on the out­side, the walls can be fi nished with at­trac­tive brick, or with stone, stucco, wood, or vinyl sid­ing. Oc­cu­pant com­fort Who would have thought that con­crete was com­fort­able? For ex­am­ple, even with less en­ergy use, the in­door tem­per­a­ture is more eas­ily con­trolled. In a stan­dard wood-framed home, out­side drafts of­ten travel right through the walls cre­at­ing chilly spots in var­i­ous rooms. This is elim­i­nated in a house with a solid con­crete core.

“Su­pe­rior sound-proof­ing is another bonus of the ICF sys­tem,” Blyth con­tin­ues, “and if com­fort is equated to peace-of-mind, why not add ‘in­vest­ment se­cu­rity’ to the list? It is gen­er­ally ex­pected that a stronger, safer, greener home – and one that is more durable, more cost ef­fi­cient, and needs less main­te­nance and re­pair – will steadily in­crease in re­sale value.”

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion for you and your builder is avail­able on­line at www. nudura.com.

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