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    MAY/JUNE 2016
   
ICF News Roundup
Heat Transfer
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ICF News Roundup

Residential Sector Grows
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. construction recovery is picking up steam.

In February, building permits for residential construction were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,120,000 which is 31% higher than 12 months earlier. Single-family home starts reached 822,000. The remaining 378,000 permits were for multi-family construction.

The steep growth in construction is creating construction labor shortages in most states. In fact, the only states not reporting construction shortages are places like Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, which have been hard hit by falling oil prices.
"In most of the country, construction continues to outpace other industries in adding jobs," confirms Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors. "Contractors remain upbeat about demand for many types of projects, but they are having difficulty finding enough qualified workers."

In all, 43 states have more construction workers on the job now than they did 12 months ago. Additionally, construction employment increased in 27 states between January and February, according to analysis of Labor Department data.
California added the most construction jobs (53,800 jobs, up 7.6%) between February 2015 and February 2016. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (25,800 jobs, up 6.2%), and New York (19,100 jobs, 5.5%). Several states in New England also reported double-digit growth.

Polycrete Offers Mid-Rise Kits
Polycrete USA has made waves in recent months by claiming remarkably fast installation times. Company president Bruce Anderson posted a photo of a six story apartment building with a caption saying the shell was completed in just weeks.

The secret, says Anderson, is pre-cutting the walls ahead of time, a system he has dubbed XpressWall. "You send us your plans, and we ship you a complete Polycrete Big Block ICF wall kit. All cuts are made in our factory and every piece is numbered and labeled," he says.

It is delivered to the jobsite with an "XpressWall Map" showing where each ICF block goes, block by block and course by course.

"We scan your plans with our software and send you the take offs and drawings for your approval. Once you OK them, we custom manufacture all the ICFs for your building's walls," he continues. "Just follow instructions and your building will practically build itself."

Since material usage is optimized in the factory, and they only ship what is needed, jobsite waste is practically eliminated.

Anderson says the new method approaches the speed of precast at about half the price.

Buck Passes Cold Weather Test
Foam window bucking has gained popularity in recent years, but a few systems on the market have been dogged by claims of cold weather failure. Typically, the EPS bucks have a polypropylene or polystyrene furring strip, similar to ICF webs for attaching windows and finishes. Northern installers have claimed that these webs can sometimes crack when screws are driven through them in cold weather.
To investigate this claim, Logix tested their Pro Buck by leaving it outside overnight when temperatures fell to 19°F (-7°C)

In the morning, the samples were brought inside and immediately had #8 screws drilled into them.

Andy Lennox, vice president, marketing solutions at Logix reports that the webs of the Logix Pro Buck maintained their high performance integrity and functionality despite being subjected to cold weather for almost 12 hours.
Lennox recommends that installers who regularly work in cold weather use a buck that will continue to perform in colder temperatures. "ProBuck will provide a solid fastening surfaces for interior and exterior finishes as well as solid anchoring to concrete for window and doors even in cold winter weather," he says.

Heat Transfer - An Unappreciated Virtue
Houses constructed with commercially available ICFs have a greater resistance to heat transfer (measured as R-values with higher values being better) than is apparent from measures of R-values in the laboratory.

The insulation of commercially available ICFs is usually 2.5 inches of foam used as forms to construct concrete walls. Given that 2.5 inches of foam has an R-value of about 11 and there are two of them (one that will be on the outside of a concrete wall and one that will be on the inside of the wall) and given that concrete has virtually no R-value, the conclusion is that ICF walls have an R-value of about 22.

» Click here to read the complete story.

Heat Transfer - An Unappreciated Virtue
Houses constructed with commercially available ICFs have a greater resistance to heat transfer (measured as R-values with higher values being better) than is apparent from measures of R-values in the laboratory.

The insulation of commercially available ICFs is usually 2.5 inches of foam used as forms to construct concrete walls. Given that 2.5 inches of foam has an R-value of about 11 and there are two of them (one that will be on the outside of a concrete wall and one that will be on the inside of the wall) and given that concrete has virtually no R-value, the conclusion is that ICF walls have an R-value of about 22.

» Click here to read the complete story.

 

 

   
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