If you’re researching the benefits of concrete homes, you’ve likely heard that energy efficiency tops the list. Energy efficiency is not only good for the environment, but for your wallet. Did you know that concrete homes offer energy savings both during construction and throughout the life of your home? Learn all about your concrete home’s (small) carbon footprint and how choosing concrete saves cash.
The Heart of the Matter
Take a good look at a piece of lumber, then a slab of concrete. After you compare the two, it’s easy to see why concrete offers more strength, durability, and insulation. While wood-framed homes allow outdoor air to enter, concrete’s mass naturally hinders air entering from the outside. Concrete walls don’t have as many air leaks as a traditional wood frames walls – and air leaks are where your home loses most of its energy. Concrete is a superior alternative to wood construction, because its sheer mass protects against outdoor temperatures.
Concrete homes also pour in large, integral walls, while wood frames are a combination of joints, studs, sheet rock, and insulation. There are simply more opportunities for outside air to enter the home – and for your heated and air-conditioned air to escape.
Today builders insulate concrete homes expertly, generally using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) construction. ICFs are cast-in-place walls that have two layers of insulation material, usually an expanded polystyrene sheet (EPS) form. ICF-built homes virtually eliminate energy loss, which can cut energy bills in half. A typical ICF home can outperform standard building codes by 50 percent to 60 percent, on average.
The naturally weatherproof nature of concrete and ICF allow builders to install smaller capacity heating, ventilating, and cooling systems in homes. This will make your new home comfortable and control the climate with significantly smaller utility bills. Homeowners experience cost-savings up front, as well as throughout a home’s life.
Cost Savings in the Buying Process
Since concrete homes are more energy efficient, they may qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM), which allows homeowners to qualify for a larger mortgage because their utility bills will be smaller. EEMs are offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offices.
Builders may also qualify for tax credits when constructing a home using ICF. According to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, contractors may be able to procure a tax credit of up to $2,000 for homes that cut heating and cooling energy by 50 percent.
A Cost-Saving and Eco-Conscious Way to Build
Logging takes a hefty toll on the environment, and deforestation has led to a lack of high-quality lumber. Builders can use recycled materials when building a house from concrete. Even when your home reaches the end of its lifespan, a builder can reuse much of the material, unlike when building a house with traditional wood framing. This makes concrete a superior alternative to other forms of home framing. Concrete also adds strength, durability, and beauty to your new living space.
Have more questions about ICF and concrete builds? Contact us for answers or an estimate.