Four Luxury Townhomes

22nd Century Technology

Patented Construction


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  What is Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction?  
  How does HCI's ICF system differ from other CFI systems?  
  Why is the ICF construction stronger than convention building methods?  
  What are hurricane straps and how do they work?  
  How quiet are ICF homes?  
  Can I expect lower utility bills?  
  Are CFI homes safer than wood frame homes?  
  What are Low-E Windows?  
  What is Radiant Barrier Roof Decking?  
  How Does a Radiant Barrier Work?  
  What does "R-Value" mean?    
  Are ICF homes termite resistant?
Are ICF homes mildew and mold resitant?
  What is EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)  
  What are "Tankless" or "On-Demand" water heaters and are they more efficient  
  Insulated Concreted Form (ICF) Construction  

Insulated Concrete Form of construction is a method developed in the early 20th Century in Europe especially for cold climates.  It incorporates the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in block form that could be used first as a form to pour some type of concrete structure between the middle of these blocks.  Once the concrete is poured the EPS hen becomes insulation.  The resulting structure is stronger than wood construction plus has a much higher insulation value that wood build and is much tighter home resulting in lower utility bills.
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  Home Corporation Intl's - (HCI) ICF System  

HCI's patented system is a post and beam method where there are 6 inch steel and concrete columns on 24 inch centers around the perimeter of the house.  Additionally, the resulting structure has more EPS serving as insulation, so the R-values for HCI's system are R-45 for the walls and R-50 for its roof system, whereas the other types of systems are generally in the R-16 to R-25 range.

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ICF construction  is stronger than convention building methods

With ICF's you obtain generally a monolithic connection of the foundation to the roof with concrete and steel and being tightly constructed, the wind resistance is much higher.

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  Hurricane Straps  
  Metal hurricane straps or clips provide the proper measure of strength and safety for the roof-to-wall connection. The common practice of toe nailing the trusses or rafters to the top plate, often is not sufficient to hold a roof in place in high winds.   
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  ICF Homes are Quieter  
  An ICF wall has a sound transmission classification of approximately STC 50, which is twice as high as a typical wood-framed wall. Loud noises outside a ICF building will be reduced to a whisper inside the building. ***  
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  Lower Utility Bills  
  Based on research performed by Building Works, Inc, houses built with ICF exterior walls require an estimated 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than comparable wood-frame houses. A typical 2000 square foot home in the center of the U.S. will save approximately $200 in heating costs each year and $65 in air conditioning each year. The bigger the house the bigger the savings. In colder areas of the U.S. and Canada, heating savings will be more and cooling savings less. In hotter areas, heating savings will be less and cooling savings more. The energy efficient performance comes in large part from the polystyrene foam on the interior and exterior of ICF walls, which range from R-16 to R-45 (HCI's range), compared to wood frame’s R-9 to R-15 walls. Also, ICF walls are tighter, reducing infiltration (air leakage) by 50% over wood-frame homes.  ***
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ICF Homes are Safer than Wood Frame Homes
ICF buildings are up to 8.5 times stronger than wood framed buildings. As a result, ICF walls are more able to withstand severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Most ICF walls have a 2-hour fire rating as opposed to 15 minutes for a comparable wood framed wall. ***
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Low E Windows 


Low-Emmisivity (Low-E) Glass Low-E glass is manufactured by depositing a microscopically thin, transparent metal or metallic oxide layer on the glass. Low-E coatings reduce radiant heat loss, and can reduce the passage of UV rays. Use of heat-resistant (or absorbing) glass began in the 1950s, as did the use of reflective (or mirror) glass.  They also have two panes of glass separated by an air space which impedes a heat loss or gain through the windows.


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Radiant Barrier


Radiant barriers are materials that are installed in buildings to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss, and hence to reduce building heating and cooling energy usage. The potential benefit of attic radiant barriers is primarily in reducing air-conditioning cooling loads in warm or hot climates. Radiant barriers usually consist of a thin sheet or coating of a highly reflective material, usually aluminum, applied to one or both sides of a number of substrate materials. *


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  How Radiant Barriers Work  
  Radiant barriers work by reducing heat transfer by thermal radiation across the air space between the roof deck and the attic floor, where conventional insulation is usually placed. All materials give off, or emit, energy by thermal radiation as a result of their temperature. The amount of energy emitted depends on the surface temperature and a property called the "emissivity" (also called the "emittance"). The emissivity is a number between zero (0) and one (1). The higher the emissivity, the greater the emitted radiation. *
HCI homes do not have attics so superheated attic spaces are not an issue.

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  What are "R-Values"  
  R-value: A measure of a material's resistance to heat flow in units of Fahrenheit degrees x hours x square feet per Btu. The higher the R-value of a material, the greater its insulating capability. The R-value of some insulating materials is 3.7 per inch for fiberglass and cellulose,2.5 per inch for vermiculite, and more than 4 per inch for foam. All building materials have some R-value. For example, a 4-inch brick has an R-value of 0.8, and half-inch plywood has an R-value of 0.6. The below table converts the most common "R" values to inches. For other "R" values, divide the "R" value by 3 to get the number of inches. *











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  Termite Resistance of ICF Homes  
  EPS is biologically neutral and therefore does not attract termites.  Another advantage is the termites cannot affect the structural integrity of the exterior walls.  
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  Mold and Mildew Resistant  
  Because HCI's homes have an a solid exterior wall structure, moisture condensation is eliminated within the wall cavity.  This prevents any mildew or mold from developing in the exterior walls. EPS is also not a food source for mildew or mold to grow upon.  Additionally HCI applies an anti-fungal treatment to the interior studs.  

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  Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)  

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a polystyrene that has been block molded using steam and pressure to form large blocks of polystyrene in large commercial forms.  These blocks are then custom cut into shapes to be used in packaging, construction, refrigeration and many other uses.  Styrene beads are placed in the molding machine and the pressure and steam is increased which expands the beads to the density requirements for a particular application.  In the HCII method densities of 1.5 to 2.0 pounds per square inch are used.

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  Tankless or On-Demand Hot Water Heaters  

Demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money.

Demand water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a demand water heater's output limits the flow rate.

Typically, demand water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 to 9.4 gallons per minute. Gas-fired demand water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones.  * * * *

HCI Currently uses the Rinnai tankless water heater.

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Credits and Referrences

  *            Dept. Of Energy - Asst. Secretary - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
**       Energy Information Administration
***     Insulated Concrete Form Association
* * * *     US Department of Energy




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