This past Saturday my wife and I made our first return visit to Long Branch Lakes where we are buying a condo for weekend/retirement living. The building finally reached a point in its construction where we could confirm the views of the woods and water we anticipated from the living room, solarium, and deck. We were quite satisfied so told the developer that we were sticking with our initial unit selection. I was also interested in seeing and talking about the green construction methods that are being used.
ICF construction definitely leads to a “green” building in terms of energy savings. Basically, an insulated concrete form is made by interconnecting rigid foam structures, leaving a gap in the middle into which concrete is poured. The foam structures are then covered with exterior and interior finishes. ICF construction provides tremendous strength, air-tight walls, and 39% lower heating and cooling costs compared to wood frame construction. Also, because the walls are air-tight, noise levels are substantially reduced. The floors are also concrete so there will be little or no impact noises transmitted from above or below.
“Going green” when building a home for retirement living makes sense in several ways, apart from the environmental benefits. The lower energy costs mean actual dollar savings, important to someone on a fixed income.
ICF as a green construction technique adds other benefits to a retired homeowner or renter:
- Low air penetration reduces dust and allergens.
- The noise reduction provides enhanced levels of peace and quiet.
- There are no wall cavities to harbor pests, mold and mildew.
- The walls cannot rot or decay.
- High thermal mass in the floors and walls minimizes temperature fluctuations in response to outside temperature changes.
If you want to learn more about green building with insulated concrete forms, take a visit to Amvic Building Systems, the system that is being used on our condo.
Bottom line – if you are considering building or buying something new for retirement living, it would certainly pay to carefully investigate the use of green building techniques.