If you’re planning a new construction or remodeling project, there are new foam insulation products on the market which could save you money. You may be familiar with foam insulation, which is normally sprayed into attic and/or interior wall spaces. Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are air-tight interior wall structures which utilize foam insulation to provide draft-free homes. These wall systems are more efficient thermal barriers than traditional stud and fiber-glass construction counterparts.
ICFs and SIPs create a new standard for energy-efficient insulation.
Insulation provides a barrier to prevent warm air from moving into cold spaces. Adequate insulation is a cornerstone of home energy efficiency. ICFs and SIPs work to provide the most weatherproof insulation on the market. While both products use spray foam insulation technology, there are slight differences in their construction applications.
Insulated Concrete Forms. ICFs are pre-fabricated modular wall sections which stack together like blocks. These hollow polystyrene blocks are connected by metal. Concrete is poured into the hollow cavities forming a literal concrete sandwich. The result is a strong, air-tight insulation wall which prevents thermal bridging. Interior wall and exterior siding materials can be applied directly to the ICF surface.
Structural Insulation Panels. SIPs are built a little differently. The 4- to 12-inch insulation panels are pre-constructed in various sizes and may require a crane to be maneuvered into place. They are positioned between two layers of wood sheeting. While there are joints between wood sheets, SIPs are still air tight and result in a comfortable home.
These new insulation technologies cost an average of 5 to 10 percent more but easily pay for themselves. As long as your foundation and attic are adequately insulated, you could see a potential 50 percent reduction in annual heating and cooling costs. If you choose to use ICFs or SIPs for your next new construction project, make sure your sub-contractors are familiar with the product as construction methods are slightly different.
For more information on new construction energy efficiency, contact AirRite Air Conditioning. We’ve provided residential and commercial energy solutions since 1955.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Foam Insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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