Homes built with insulated concrete walls effectively buffer a house's interior from the outdoors. The combination of a massive material (concrete) with a light one (foam) sharply cuts fluctuations in temperature, air infiltration, and noise. Insulated concrete walls keep the inside of a house more comfortable and quiet than ordinary wood frame walls. Concrete walls include masonry, insulating concrete forms (ICFs), poured concrete/removable forms, precast, and autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC).
A continuous layer of foam insulation along a concrete wall helps keep the temperature the same everywhere along the wall. Because of concrete's thermal mass, heat energy is stored and given back when rooms cool down. The continuous layer of concrete within the walls makes them exceptionally airtight. Openings for windows and doors become the only places where air can infiltrate.
Compared to a typical wood frame wall, only about one-quarter to one-eighth as much sound penetrates a concrete wall.
WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE?
When planning a new home, consider the greater well-being that can come from living with more even temperatures, sharply reduced drafts, and noticeably greater quiet—all benefits of concrete walls.
The following publications and the full version of this Tech Brief are available from the Portland Cement Association.
LT282 VanderWerf and Panushev, Insulating Concrete Forms Construction: Demand, Evaluation, & Technical Practice $49.95ND
EB118 HUD, NAHB Research Center, & PCA, Prescriptive Method for ICFs in Residential Construction (2nd Edition) $25.00
CD044 HUD, CTL, & PCA, HVAC Sizing for Concrete Homes (CD application software) $59.95
CD058 Concrete Home Plan (CD application software) $19.95
Portland Cement Association (PCA)
5420 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Illinois 60077-1083
Fax: 847-966-9281 Web: www.cement.org
More information? Helpline 1-888-333-4840 www.concretehomes.com