Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction is being seen as a game-changing tool for architects, especially given the multiple benefits from an environmental perspective. A proven green construction technology, ICF provides energy efficiency, durability, reduced carbon footprint and sustainability.
The Prince’s Terrace project was recently awarded the first ‘6 Star Green Star in Residential Design’ by the Green Building Council of Australia. A collaborative project between Defence Housing Australia, Renewal SA and The Princes Trust Australia, the prestigious residential development sets a new benchmark in ICF construction with sustainable design concepts underlying every aspect of the building.
With its latest ‘As Built’ accreditation, this pioneering design has become one of the highest rated developments in sustainable living in Australia. The ‘As Built’ assessment certifies that the completed building has achieved and delivered on sustainable outcomes.
ICF constructions offer superior R-ratings and can incorporate energy-saving technologies that provide an efficient and structurally strong design with high thermal mass and a durable insulating building envelope. These benefits contribute significantly to empowering architects and designers when designing sustainable buildings.
Optima Construction, a Sydney construction company specialising in ICF buildings, endorses the many advantages of this construction technique, which helps create maintenance-free homes thanks to the strength and durability of the concrete walls.
Designing walls with ICF is also extremely versatile: This system allows for a spectrum of wall sizes and thicknesses, which can be varied to suit multiple wall types on any project. ICF technology can be tailored to suit any style of residential or commercial building, so architects and designers can complete their design with the confidence that the ICF can be cut or altered to suit different wall sizes.
There are endless design opportunities that can be incorporated into ICF design. Any joinery can be freestanding, or bolted to a solid concrete structure, and glass stacker doors can be top mounted to reinforced concrete beams. Foam can be removed to create feature wall details such as shelving and niches.
Also, there are several external finishes on an ICF building including textured renders, stone facing, batten and weatherboard, batten and Colorbond, mini orb and Aluca bond. With no restrictions or limitations on finishes, ICF can be used to create curved walls, archways and detailed mouldings to suit architecture from all over the world.
The low build time, and high labour savings and thermal efficiency are some of the attractive qualities of ICF design; however, the acoustic component where keeping noise pollution out is as important as enhancing the acoustical properties of sounds generated within is often overlooked. Ideal for cinemas, sound studios, hotels, townhouses and duplexes, and multi-storey residential buildings, ICF surpasses all expectations as the optimal design choice with an STC Rating of 55+.
Any innovative architectural design applying ICF will definitely show a lasting return on investment, extending well beyond the original savings in construction and labour.