Why many churches are utilizing ICF techniques in their worship facilities where both new and existing churches are reaping the benefits.
Keith Loria · February 20, 2018
Back in 1966, Canadian contractor Werner Gregori was awarded a patent for a foam concrete form block, measuring 16 inches high by 48 inches long with: a tongue-and-groove interlock, a waffle-grid core and metal ties. This new block technology became the basis of insulated concrete form (ICF) construction, a method where hollow foam blocks are stacked to shape the exterior walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete.
“ICF has been around a while, but really started to become more mainstream over the last eight years,” says Rod Fetters of ICF Specialist, based in Litchfield Park, Ariz., which designs buildings using the foam block technology. “We did our first worship space back in 2004, and it’s become a great option for those who want to find new ways to build.”
By combining one of the finest insulating materials—Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), with steel reinforced concrete, ICF results in a wall system second to none.
COST VS. BENEFITS
The cost is only a few percentage points over building with wood, but the 40 to 70 percent savings on energy costs will offset the upfront difference rather quickly and the savings will continue over the life of the structure.
The benefits of building with ICFs are many. They allow buildings to be built stronger, more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly. ICF walls are virtually airtight and take advantage of the dozens of yards of concrete in the walls to moderate temperature swings.