ICF & SIP Build Methods

The building industry has a large impact on our economy, productivity – but even more our natural environment and health.

More and more breakthroughs in building technology, new ways of building homes, are quickly being made available to home builders, house designers and new home owners who want to build in a way that respects our earth.

Here are some quick facts about building green:

  • Reduces solid waste
  • Conserves Natural Resources
  • Improves air & water quality
  • Protects ecosystems
  • Reduces costs
  • Increase life-cycle performance
  • Enhances occupants health and comfort
  • Better thermal and acoustic environments

At Rijus Home Design, we’ve design countless house plans to be built using traditional wood framing techniques, but we also can design any style of home to be built using ICF block or SIPS panels.  ICF design in particular may sometimes require structual engineering.  Contact us to discuss.

Structurally Insulated Panels - SIPs Structural Insulated Panels “SIP’s”  House Design

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for all types of residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Other skin material can be used for specific purposes. SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each home. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building your house with SIPs will save you time, money and labor.
Building with SIPs generally costs about the same as building with wood frame construction, when you factor in the labour savings resulting from shorter construction time and less job-site waste.

Other savings are realized because less expensive heating and cooling systems are required with SIP construction.

Insulated concrete forms - ICF Insulated Concrete Forms “ICF’s” House Design

Insulated Concrete Forms(or ICFs) are forms or molds that have built-in insulation for accepting reinforced concrete. The first patent application for an ICF was registered in the late 1960’s. Since then, and particularly in the last 5 years, ICFs have been fast-becoming the mainstream preferred building product worldwide for all of the right reasons. These large, hollow blocks are stacked right off of the truck and filled with reinforcing bar and concrete. The end result leaves you with a high-performing wall that is structurally sound, insulated, strapped, has a vapor barrier and is ready to accept final exterior and interior finishes.

  • A solid concrete Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) Home can be multiple stories high and have many design features of a typical frame home.  The ICF walls incorporate framing, insulation, vapor barrier and shear resistance into one step.  The typical added cost of building with ICF vs. the typical wood frame construction practices in Central Texas is typically less than four dollars per square foot.  The added cost of building with ICF and concrete again typically has a payback (via savings to the homeowner in operating costs) of less than five years.  Many homeowners report that the “payback” is less than three years.  ICF homes offer many benefits to the homeowner some of which we list here:
  • ICF homes typically save upwards of 50% of utility costs when complementary materials and methods are incorporated into the structure during construction.  75% utility savings are common.  Especially now since electric and gas have gone up as much as 80% in cost.
  • ICF homes provide quiet indoor environments as concrete and EPS foam are excellent at insulating you from outside noise.
  • ICF homes are durable in that the structure is solid concrete, unaffected by many of the problems of common frame construction.
  • The insulation value of the EPS foam never deteriorates and is unaffected by moisture or settling and creates a superior insulating wall.
  • The solid wall construction eliminates drafts and air leaks that allow dust and pollen buildup within the home.
  • ICF homes that incorporate proper heating and cooling systems offer clean air environments for the occupants.
  • ICF homes don’t incorporate cavity wall construction that can be conducive to moisture and mold buildup.
  • ICF homes don’t offer a “readymade” home for bugs and critters to live unlike wood frame walls.
  • ICF Homeowners repeatedly exclaim “We will never go back to wood after living in our ICF home