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    June/July 2009
    ICF News Roundup
EPS Reduces Global Warming
            According to a new study sponsored by the EPS Molders Association (EPSMA), expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is one of the most sustainable building products in the world.
            The study, titled Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings for EPS Foam Insulation Applied to Exterior Walls of Single Family Residential Housing in the U.S. and Canada, found that the energy and emissions used to create EPS is far outweighed by the environmental benefits of it’s insulation.
            EPS insulation can return up to 200 times the amount of energy required to produce it, and can reduce emissions by up to 100 times when compared to the emissions produced during the manufacturing process.
            The life cycle study concluded the savings from adding EPS insulation are both substantial and rapid, providing a 100% payback anywhere in North America in less than two years. It also provides significant energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions over the long-term.
For more information, visit www.epsma.org. ICFA Revises Dues Structure
            In a bid to attract new and former members, the Insulating Concrete Forms Association (ICFA) has significantly revised its dues structure.
            The new system still has six different membership categories, but unlike the old system, the cost of membership is proportional to the size of the business. 
            “Primary Members” have been rebranded “ICF System Members,” and dues in this category are based on product volume shipped semi-annually.
            “Associate Members,” which provide raw materials to the industry, pay only $500 under the new system if gross revenue on ICF-related business is less than $1 million annually.  This is a significant decrease from the previous $3,000 flat charge. 
            Associates who voluntarily choose to pay a larger amount as dues can become “sustaining members.”
            Contractor, Distributor, and Professional members all fall under the same dues structure.  If ICF-related business is less than $1million annually, dues is $250.  For revenues between 1 and 2.5 million, dues is $500.
            Steve Heller, executive director at ICFA, says most former and potential members will find the change significantly reduces the price of membership.   He expects rising membership numbers to offset the lower dues. 
            For membership information or to view the entire dues structure, visit www.forms.org. Fire Sprinkler Update
         As reported in Dec. 2008 issue, the 2009 International Residential Code will require automatic fire sprinklers in all new one-and two-family homes.  The vote would have failed by 2-to-1 margin if not for the sudden appearance of more than 900 fire officials who voted, then left the meeting.
            Now the NAHB has filed an appeal, claiming the International Code Council failed to provide a fair and open voting process during the final hearing in September. 
            In the letter, NAHB asked the ICC to "take immediate action to eliminate the influence of third-party funding in the voting process" and "undertake corrective action ... by restoring the principle of balance… in the selection of voting representatives."
            The ICC has not yet set a date for hearing NAHB's appeal. However, interested parties are invited to respond to the appeal by submitting their views in writing to mpfeiffer@iccsafe.org and to participate in the appeals hearing. Logix  Manufactures in Hawaii
                  Logix Insulated Concrete Forms Ltd. will begin manufacturing in Hawaii effective July 2009.
            The plant will manufacture a full line-up of 6.25” and 8” knockdown blocks. The company anticipates adding other elements of the company’s extensive product line over time.
            “Establishing manufacturing in the state of Hawaii is the next stage of our expansion plan,” notes Andy Lennox, vice president of marketing at the company.  “We’ve recently added manufacturing capabilities in Minnesota and in California, as well,” he notes.
            Tom Smerchanski, one of the owners of Logix, says, “The current economic downturn presents challenges, but it also presents a great opportunity to separate yourself from the pack. Unlike most of our competitors, we are aggressively expanding… our distribution network, marketing capabilities, product offerings and manufacturing capacity.”
            With the expansion, the company is actively looking for a Territory Manager to oversee operations in this Pacific paradise.  Distributor inquiries are also welcome. LiteForm Sets "100% Recycle" Goal
            LiteForm Technologies has launched an initiative to use 100% recycled (re-grind) EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) in selected lines of their ICF forming systems. According to the company, the move was prompted by environmental concerns about depleting and wasting valuable resources.
            New EPS molding equipment and processes allow this Nebraska-based firm to intercept EPS scrap from local building contractors and incidental "consumer" scrap and recycle it into durable EPS building products.  EPS scrap from LiteForm's operation is automatically captured and recycled, also.
            Currently, this discarded EPS is a major contributor to local landfills and dumps.             Lite-Deck Top Hats made from 100% regrind are already available.  The company is currently expanding the process to other product lines. ICF Flipbook Available
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association has added another title to its popular pitch book marketing tools.
            The new Insulating Concrete Construction book is designed to be an easy-to-understand overview of how to build energy efficient and disaster resistant concrete commercial buildings.
            Designed for homeowners, architect, and commercial developers unfamiliar with ICFs, it lays out the benefits and features of insulated concrete buildings. Even the newest ICF salesperson or concrete promoter can speak with confidence, thanks to the book’s  
everyday language and explanatory graphics.
            The professionally produced flipbook can be presented over a cup of coffee, during a one-on-one meeting, or customized with a company-specific logo. 
            A PowerPoint presentation (on disk) is included with the flipbook for an even more effective lunch-and-learn presentation.
             “The flipbook series has been very popular and with good reason – a sometimes the low-tech, simple approach produces the best results,” said Glenn Ochsenreiter, NRMCA’s senior vice president of marketing. “This marketing tool will be very helpful in advancing insulating concrete construction.”
            Like other flipbooks, each page presents attractive, clear and compelling information about the product on the viewer’s side of the page, while the reverse contains additional information only visible to the presenter.  “This helps every promoter stay organized, reinforce the key points and also cover additional helpful information to support the specifier,” says Jon Hansen, who developed the flipbook in conjunction with the editor of ICF Builder Magazine.

ICF Builder Magazine

ICF Incentives Abound
            Federal, state, and municipal governments currently offer a number of temporary programs beneficial to ICFs.  The incentives are designed to jumpstart the sluggish construction market, which is a major factor in the current economic slowdown.
            DJ Ketelhut, sales director for the Eastern U.S. for Quad-Lock Building Systems, summarized many of the incentives in a recent company newsletter saying, “Whether you are an end-user, builder, contractor, or a salesperson, you will gain a competitive advantage by understanding these plans and communicating them with your clients or customers.”
            In addition to the first-time homebuyer credit offered by state and national government, there are a host of energy credits that ICF buildings can easily qualify for.
These include:

United States
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Energy Policy Act

  • Home Tax Credit, 30% tax credit up to $1500
  • $500 tax credit for energy efficient home improvements
  • Residential Builder tax credit of $2000 for building more energy efficient homes


  • $1.80 sq/ft tax deduction for buildings that achieve 50% reduction in energy consumption
  • Partial credits of up to $.60 sq/ft are available for† upgrades to the building envelope
  • 10 billion allocated for "greening" schools through Collaborative High Performance Schools (CHPS) program

Home Renovation Tax Credit

  • 1  Up to $1350 on eligible expenditures

EcoEnergy Retrofit Grant

  • 1  Grants up to $5000

EcoEnergy Retrofit Incentive for Buildings

  • Up to 25% of eligible project costs or $50,000 (up to $250,000 per organization)

Additional details on these programs can be found online at: www.doe.gov, www.energystar.com, www.cra-arc.gc.ca/hrtc, www.ecoaction.gc.ca/ECOENERGY-ECOENERGIE/index-eng.cfm.

ICF Builder Magazine


ICF Builder Awards

            The ICF Builder Awards are back again, and this year's contest promises to be even better than last year’s highly successful event.  Categories and judging criteria are unchanged from last year.  
            Entry Forms, rules, sample score sheets and a short video to explain the entry process are available. 
            For more information, or to request a hard copy of the entry materials, call 877-229-9174.
            The ICF Builder Awards are the largest, oldest, and most prestigious ICF competition in existence.  Contractors, distributors, and ICF manufacturers are encouraged to submit projects for consideration. As always, the Builder Awards are open to anyone involved with ICFs, without restriction on form type, brand, or number of entries.
            For more information, visit www.builderawards.com.

Bracing 101

The turnbuckle brace is now industry standard, and available from at least half-a-dozen different companies.  These braces have revolutionized the industry, allowing contractors to deliver walls that are straight, level, plumb, and square every single time.
            Every ICF manufacturer now recommends adjustable metal bracing as the only approved bracing method, and mastering the basics of this tool is essential for any ICF installer. 
            The various brands of bracing differ slightly in set-up, storage, and maintenance requirements, but their use is quite similar…
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ICF installers and designers like to say they can match any look or style of home.  It’s true that insulated concrete forms can accommodate nearly any exterior finish.  Textured acrylic finishes, stuccos, brick, stone, and siding can easily be applied. 
            Until recently, though, interior wall finish options were limited.  Due to national fire codes, nearly everyone installed regular gypsum drywall with a sprayed-on texture.  But in the last few years, a number of companies have developed products that make finishing the interior of ICF walls easier, faster, and more cost effective than ever before. 
            Designers and contractors can now offer an unlimited variety of styles, textures, and colors on the interior walls as well.  What’s more, these options are often healthier and more durable….
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           Perrier’s Concrete Homes, headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, is a typical ICF installation company in many ways.  For almost a decade, owner Michael Perrier and his crew have traveled the province creating beautiful, high-end, energy-efficient ICF homes.  Homes that easily stand up to the long, harsh winters and howling winds common on the Atlantic seaboard.
            In other respects, though, Perrier’s company is anything but typical.  Mike and his entire crew are hard of hearing.  Some are completely deaf. And despite their handicaps, they have not only survived, but thrived.
Click Here for the Complete Story

ICF Product Directory

ICF manufacturers and those that service this industry are always coming up with newer, better products to help the contractor become more efficient and profitable. The products listed on the following pages cover many aspects of the ICF structure, from footing forms to beam hangers.

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