Thoughts on ICFs (insulated concrete forms)

We continue to field discussions from various parts of the world on Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) so I thought I'd blog about them.  I wouldn't say there is a lot of misinformation out there - perhaps just a lot of misunderstanding.  As with any advanced building material, the foundation (no pun intended) of the concept lies in the science behind the product.  Sometimes the science is misdirected, or mis-applied, and expectations therefore often fall short of what yields from reality.

For US markets, the only thing GREEN about Bamboo is its color
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 00:00

Time and again I see "eco" or "green" builders promote bamboo flooring or paneling as part of their product offering - heck, for some it seems that spray foam insulation and bamboo flooring is all that it takes to be a green builder. I'm not sure I get all of this hype over bamboo. While the primary claim is that it is a fast growing (rapidly replenished) plant, I will always remain dubious of low-impact "solutions" for our society that are primarily shipped in from the other side of the world. It's kind of like claiming that going to your neighborhood big-box store is "buying local" and in my mind is akin to green-washing. At least as far as the US market is concerned, I believe that the only thing really "green" about bamboo is its color. But then I did some follow-up research on the subject and was astonished at what I found....

Passive & Net Zero Energy Houses minimizing heating & cooling costs

We often receive interest from individuals looking for a "Net Zero Energy" home - one whose NET energy bill is or approaches zero.  By providing the most advanced structurally insulated panels on the market today our panels are perfect for this application.  We recently reviewed with a potential customer in Canada that our 6.5" wall panels would perform at approximately R48 for him - about as close to a "perfect" thermal envelope as you're going to get in 6.5".  Passive houses - ones that by passive design simply minimize (and in some cases negate) heating and cooling expenses - are of a similar nature.  The New York Times published an article this past weekend focusing on ground zero for passive house research - the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany.  Here are some great excerpts from the article....

Eco-Panels aiding international relief organizations

At Eco-Panels we'd like to recognize our often un-sung Guardian Mobile Systems business unit.  A business that focuses on the rapid responder and international aid communities we can provide super insulated and extremely ruggedized towable trailure vehicles (T2V) for relief operations as well as our RESPONDER(TM) Building Kit.  "RESPONDER" stands for "Rapidly Erected Structural Panels ON Demand for the Emergency Responder".  As the name implies we can assemble containerized kits of small or large structures that are easily assembled and rapidly (typ less than one day) erected and super insulated, strong (even bullet proof) structures in a time of need.  Our patent pending system will allow countries like Turkey, Mexico, China or Indonesia to store containerized structures until they are required - and then rapidly transported to the place of need from a centralized location.

Recently our company was proud to support 3 T2V units of the MMC (Mobile Medical Clinic) type for impoverished regions of Africa - Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa.  Working with the World Childrens Fund, Global Aid Network (GAiN) and Gleaning for the World, these units contain multiple and redundant power sources, fresh water and are rugged enough to be towed 50 miles off-road to the relief camps.  Simple retro-fit road trailers or RVs have been proven to not be able to handle these conditions.  In fact our trailers were designed by rapid responders and international relief experts for the sole purpose of filling the void in the existing market offering.  By building a rugged unit that's small enough so that it can be towed by 4x4 vehicles already in the field yet large enough to suit a demanding medical community, our company has worked for the past 5 years to redefine the capabilities of the rapid responder and international relief organization.

All units are fully customizable, from solar power systems to satelite communications.  For more information or for questions and comments we'd love to hear from you at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

T2V Mobile Medical Clinic or Command Center

RESPONDER Building System







SEE Expo Tradeshow Review & Flyers

This past weekend we exhibited our product at the 2008 Southern Energy and Environment (SEE) Expo and had a tremendous response from the attending community.  Our feet are tired but we're back in action with lots of follow-up to do this week.  While we were sure we would have more than enough flyers for the show we did run out in the waning two hours on Sunday afternoon and we apologize for anyone that passed by and could not receive a flyer.  I have attached links to the two documents on the right (the document we distributed was a single sheet double sided document).

It was as much an educational event this past weekend as anything - and when you get down to it that's really what it's all about.  Unfortunately we did have competitors spreading falsehoods about our product but I guess that goes with the territory.  It is not better to have an open cell foam in the wall cavity to allow moisture to pass through your building envelope in an uninhibited fashion - in fact it is never good to have moisture roaming around in your walls and roof.  It is always best to keep the interior of the building envelope well ventilated with an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) or equivalent.  "Seal it tight, ventilate right" the building scientists say in growing consensus - and that includes preventing moisture - and any particles that moisture may contain - from passing freely through your building envelope.

Our competitors with the EPS panels (~95% of the US market uses EPS or styrofoam type foam products) lied to people when they told them that our panels would kill you.  Kind of a pitiful, desperate plea for attention, I think.  Our panels have an inert (non-reactive) foam interior that is 100% formaldehyde free and does not off-gass.  We can substantiate the R value that we state with DATA - something our competitors often lack.  We'll be glad to discuss with any interested parties if you like.

"Green Building 101" Flyer

Eco-Panels "Green" Attributes

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