As building codes in Canada enforce tightened minimum standards for eco-responsibility, the more progressive builders are illustrating their own accountability by using and producing materials that are even more efficient than mandated.
So if you are currently designing, planning, or simply getting ready to buy a new home, it is likely that your investment will represent and deliver greater environmental conservation, lower occupant costs, and a far improved property value. Building code revisions worldwide are ushering in a whole new generation of structures that are as much as 35 to 40 per cent more environmentally responsible.
At one glimpse, the improved practises in construction, for example, are showcasing advancements in wall building, windows, insulation, and air-infiltration.
“Switching from wood-framing to concrete walls, for example, has so many spin off benefits,” says Todd Blyth at Nudura, the manufacturers of an advanced building method called the insulated concrete form (ICF). “Solid, air-tight concrete walls would initially lower your energy bills. You would get to live in a stronger, more comfortable home, while the investment grows in the re-sale value. As importantly, with far lower demand by your house on natural resources, you get to make an important contribution to the environment every day.”
Canadian technology is also blazing this trail. The Ontario-based Nudura system of ICFs is highly regarded internationally due to its ability to deliver both energy efficiency and occupant comfort. As a result, this advanced system for building concrete walls is in high demand especially across the United States and Canada.
Walls lock together
Designed like Lego, the pre-assembled, interlocking Nudura forms (nudura.com) are designed with monolithic concrete sandwiched between two continuous layers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam.
“The foam material isolates the concrete and significantly reduces the flow of heat through the wall,” Blyth explained. “It stabilizes the internal temperature from day to night fluctuations and provides a largely self-regulating environment. This faster method of construction creates one solid concrete wall.”
As a result he says, you will need less energy for mechanical heating and cooling, delivering cost savings throughout the year. A home built with this concrete system stands to be stronger, provides greater safety, offers greater sound resistance, fire resistance – and would be far less prone to mould, cold spots and drafts.
“Benefits are plentiful to builders too,” Blyth continued. “The forms are compact, requiring smaller shipping space and manpower than other methods, and the process meets and even exceeds building code requirements.”
If you want your builder to use insulated concrete forms, be sure to make the request well before construction gets underway, he said.