Several studies have established that poor indoor quality in homes can cause various health problems from insomnia, depression and fatigue to respiratory illnesses, allergies and fevers. However, making informed choices in structural materials during the building process can easily prevent health problems arising out of poor indoor quality and noise pollution.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) available from ZEGO Building Systems offer an environment-friendly and healthy building option with the potential to significantly improve indoor air quality and sound insulation.
For instance, an ICF home has reduced dependence on an HVAC system, which means fewer allergens are spread and the indoor air stays cleaner, compared to conventional buildings that rely on HVAC systems heavily to maintain indoor comfort. ICF construction, therefore, also reduces heating and cooling costs in the home.
The superior structural barrier provided by ICF walls to outside air flow reduces the draft within the building, improving the overall indoor air flow.
ICF walls significantly block out noise, which reduces the stressful effects of disrupted sleep, street noise from outside traffic and general noise pollution.
Made from allergen-free materials, ICFs do not emit CFCs or formaldehyde commonly found in conventional building materials. ICFs do not attract pests such as rats or termites in the absence of nutritional benefits to vermin, thereby promoting a cleaner, healthier and more pleasant living environment.
Ventilation by opening windows in the front and rear or upstairs and downstairs can provide cross ventilation for fresh air. However, in colder or Alpine climates, most people install heat exchange air filtration systems, which are cost effective to run and exchange inside air with incoming outside air to within approximately 5 degrees of the internal ambient temperature, preventing overloading of the internal HVAC system. This also reduces excessive heating and cooling costs.
The importance of using appropriate insulation materials for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is highlighted in a 2009 report from the International Council of Chemical Associations. This report determined that insulation alone could account for 40 per cent of the total identified carbon savings from the international chemical industry. Ultimately, building with Insulated Concrete Forms is the way forward in the construction industry.