Superior new build ICF house going up

Posted: 31 December 2020

Some relatively recent photos from the superior new self-build ICF [insulated concrete formwork] house in Derbyshire that is going up quite quickly.

An ICF house uses a different system to regular construction techniques. Primarily made from hollow recycled wood fibre blocks with pre-bonded insulation inside. The blocks are like huge Lego blocks that are stacked on top of each other and then the hollow voids are then simply filled in with concrete. Combined with a permanent insulation formwork raft slab foundation and wood fibre roof insulation [to reduce summertime overheating] this should be a hugely energy efficient house without any thermal breaks.

It’s quite interesting that the underfloor heating is buried directly in the structural concrete slab which is meant to be cheaper and quick to build although riskier if it goes wrong. This decision was directed by the Client so we learnt something new there.

Despite having superior energy efficiency in use [when finished] we’re not convinced that overall, in it’s total lifecycle, the building will be as energy efficient as we might like to think. Concrete uses up loads of energy and releases lots of carbon from the furnaces during the manufacturing process, so this reduces the effectiveness of the completed energy efficiency. Sustainability and energy conservation is not just about reducing energy and carbon when built and finished. The materials used to build from, how they are made and transported also has a big part to play. This information has made us reconsider how we do things such as selecting materials and systems of build. Hopefully, going forward into 2021 we can encourage Clients to consider beyond energy efficiency in use.

More progress photos are on their way soon. Looking forward to seeing the internal walls go up soon, especially the curved feature walls and bespoke timber staircase.

Project case study details can be found here.


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