ICFs 101: Affordable


A home built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs) is more affordable than you may think. Does building with ICFs cost a little more than traditional stick wall construction? Yes. Does that additional investment get quickly recouped by the tremendous savings in energy, interest, and insurance costs? Absolutely! Also, consider the reduced maintenance costs and higher resell value and you can see why insulating concrete home structures are actually more affordable than wood construction. Consider the following benefits before you come to your own conclusion.

Increased Home Value
Not planning on staying in your home for more a than few years? A recent study conducted for the EPA Energy Star Homes Program concludes that home value increases by about $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills. This means you can profit by investing in energy efficient homes even if you’re uncertain about how long you might stay in the home. You’ll enjoy positive cash flow for as long as you live in your home and can also expect to recover your investment when you sell the home.

Insurance Savings
Because ICFs are included in the masonry construction class, they qualify for a lower premium than a home in the traditional wood frame class. Also, more and more insurance providers are recognizing the fire and natural disaster resistance of insulating concrete form structures and are offering special discounts on top of those lower premiums. (Check with local agents for availability in your area.)

Mortgage Qualification
Because of the proven energy savings, certain mortgage companies offer “Energy Efficiency” Home Mortgages which take into consideration the decrease in energy costs. This allows you to qualify for a higher mortgage payment. That means you’re taking that same money which would be going to the utility companies and instead putting into your home!

So – how much does an ICF home cost?
Building walls of ICFs adds only $1.00-$4.00 per square foot. But since ICF homes are more energy-efficient, the heating and cooling equipment can be smaller than in a framed house. This can cut the cost of the final house by an estimated $.75 per square foot. So the net extra cost is only about $.25-$3.25. Factor in the savings and benefits we discussed prior and you can easily conclude that ICF is more affordable overall than wood construction.

For more information about building your new custom home with ICFs, contact Custom Homes LTD for a builder consultation. (210) 559-9293