Representatives from Build with Strength, NUDURA, Holdfast Technologies, and local Kentucky concrete producers, developers, and school officials from across the country toured three Warren County, Ky., schools that utilize the latest innovation in concrete construction – insulating concrete forms (ICFs). The schools, all of which are located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, were Richardsville Elementary, South Warren Middle & High School, and Jennings Creek Elementary – the latter still under construction.

From improved energy-efficiency to lower lifecycle costs, school districts across the country – especially Warren County Schools in Kentucky, which has saved $11 million since 2003 – are seeing the benefits of building with ICFs.

“Having safe, well-maintained schools are part of the overall learning process,” said Mike Wilson, Director of Facilities for Warren County, Ky., Public Schools. “If there were a storm, I’d rather be [in this ICF school] than in my home.”

ICFs “are a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building.” Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material. Its unique, lightweight structure allows crews to construct buildings more quickly and easily than conventional methods, without compromising the integrity of the structure.

“One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen since moving to ICFs is the speed of construction,” said Kenny Stanfield of Sherman Carter Barnhart, the architecture firm for Jennings Creek Elementary. “ICFs allow us to build rapidly, saving man-hours and costs in the long run.”

ICFs are quickly becoming the building material of choice for educational facilities due to their strength, energy efficiency and ease of use.