Eco-Village in River Falls Wisconsin Uses ICF in Eighteen LEED® Platinum Homes
LAS VEGAS, NV. (April 11, 2013) – When Dr. Jim Farr, the Executive Director of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity (SCVHFH) in River Falls, WI and the Board of Directors decided to embark on the development of an innovative, sustainable community and wanted to secure a LEED for Homes Platinum certification, he knew he needed construction products that would enable him to achieve his goals. Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) was one of the construction product partners that proved to have both the experience and commitment to sustainability needed to be a valuable asset to the Habitat for Humanity home construction in the Eco Village.
According to a statement on the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity website, “Eco-Village is based on a LEED for Homes Platinum, carbon negative, net zero energy approach to environmental, economic and social applications”. Fox Blocks (ICF) is assisting Eco-Village attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building status and is a clear choice for building designers to maximize points in the LEED rating system because the Fox Blocks series wall systems provide an extremely energy efficient building envelope offering superior strength, sound, air quality, and well insulated walls. LEED designs set the goal of building energy efficient, durable homes built to be storm/tornado resistant. Fox Blocks ICF is a solid monolithic concrete wall and withstands the worst of rainstorms, fires, and high winds. In addition to the benefits defined in the USGBC LEED system, ICFs contribute to sustainable construction in many other ways. The sound dampening of the concrete and foam is ideal for protection from urban noise and it is also a barrier to insects, including termites.
“Fox Blocks and Habitat for Humanity have a growing relationship, built on our common interest in providing home owners with well-built homes that are energy efficient. Eco-Village brought us together to build a unique sustainable neighborhood that benefits families both economically and socially,” said Mike Kennaw, Vice President of Sales. “The eighteen homes we are contributing to, are built by the families who will live in the home and local volunteers. Fox Blocks is excited to teach Habitat for Humanity builders a new skill; ICF block installation.”
Eco-Village is situated on five acres in an existing, yet vibrant and progressive neighborhood. Close to parks, schools and other amenities, Eco-Village will provide 18 new families an innovative community that blends the energy efficiency of a home, with the sustainable environmental and social awareness of a lifestyle geared to the future.
Dr. Jim Farr added, “Fox Blocks is the kind of partner that provides our organization with value on several levels; their commitment to community engagement, the donation of an energy efficient product, expertise in construction, and valuable training and craftsmanship for our volunteers. Their participation and support in Eco-Village will hopefully result in the recognition needed to repeat this new sustainable community development model for other communities around the country.”
Take a tour with us through the Gymnasium Bourgade Hillman High School in Phoenix, AZ as we pour out the concrete in just 15 days.
Checklists can be an important part of any project. Not only do they keep you and your team on track even while the lead may be unavailable, but they are helpful in reminding you of the proper sequencing as well as highlight items that could be missed during the project. We’ve created a series of installation checklists broken out in phases to help you be the most efficient with your next ICF project.
- Prior to Job
- Product Deliver
- Start of Job Check List
- Row 1
- Row 2
- Row 3
- Prior to Close
- Multiple Levels
- Post Concrete
- Extreme Weather Concreting
Just one way to attach your floor system to the side of a Fox Blocks wall when building with Insulated Concrete Forms for multiple stories of construction.
The advantages of Fox Blocks ICFs are several. Fox Blocks provide a clever design that has the good features of the tried and true early brands of ICFs, and then has incorporated significant improvements, which enhance the ease of use to the installer. This combined with our direct shipment method of distribution will deliver what could be the best ICF on the market at very competitive prices.
Significant Features Are:
- Strength of forms:
- Webs engineered to provide superior strength
- Foam panels 2 5/8″ minimum thickness of EPS resulting in minimal deflection of EPS panels during concrete pouring
- Robust corner forms:
- Reinforced corner forms with significant areas provided for cladding exterior surface finishes
- A hold in the 90-degree corner forms is designed for the insertion of a length of rebar or pipe to tie the corner together
- The internal corner bracket (patent pending) connects the inside and outside EPS panels and thus improves both the strength of the corner form and safety during construction and placing of concrete in the Fox Blocks walls
- Reversible interlock:
- There is only one corner form as there is no need for left and right hand corner forms. This makes ordering and stocking easier and provides greater flexibility on the job site
- Less job site waste as cut-offs can more readily be used elsewhere in the walls
- Continuous web design to control settling:
- The webs are engineered to rest one on top of the other (hard plastic to hard plastic) as the courses are placed one on top of the other. This makes achieving final elevations much easier than with other ICF systems, which do not have the webs in contact and where the forms compresses while the concrete is being placed.
LAS VEGAS, NV. (February 13, 2013) – Projects from five states using the Fox Blocks ICF system were recognized at the ICF Builder Awards, recently held at World of Concrete in Las Vegas, NV. Within seven total categories, five Fox Blocks projects received awards. The annual awards competition showcases the most innovative projects from ICF companies around the globe and received fifty entries from the best in the industry. The award winners exemplify the energy-efficiency, creative architecture, and speed of installation that can be achieved with ICF construction.
Fox Blocks, a leader in the development and manufacturing of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), was recognized with five awards: Fox Blocks took “Best in Class” honors in the light commercial category with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: Steele Creek Division. Awards were also given in the heavy commercial category with Glasgow High School, in Glasgow, KY; light commercial category with the City of Las Vegas Fire Station 106, Las Vegas, NV; the large residential category, A Better House, Inc., Nashville, TN, and in the heavy commercial category with New Meadows Long-term Care Facility, Las Vegas, NM.
The 2013 ICF Builder Magazine awards were announced during a ceremony on February 6th in Las Vegas at the World of Concrete. Finalists were scored on the complexity, visibility, size, and sustainability of the ICF project. A total of 50 total entries and 8 different brands of block were submitted for awards. The competition takes place as an annual event designed to recognize nominated projects that showcase the innovation, quality, and energy-efficiency of ICF construction, and promote ICF as a sustainable, durable and attractive building material.
Judging is based on a project’s complexity, architecture, and how well it serves to advance the industry and raise positive attention to ICF’s. Judging criteria was weighted 20% for complexity and creativity, 15% for percentage of ICF’s, 15% architecture, 15% construction and site considerations, 15% significance/visibility/advances the industry, 10% size, and 10% sustainability.
“We are honored to be recognized with these five ICF Builder Awards. Fox Blocks won five awards in three categories, with projects from five different states. This is important to us because it shows the broad usage of ICF and the wide variety of construction projects and climates that benefit from ICF construction,” said Mike Kennaw, Vice President of Sales.
Fox Blocks ICF materials used in these award winning projects:
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: Steele Creek Division: Fox Blocks materials were used in 100% of the exterior walls, totaling 8,420 feet. In addition, there were 740 square feet of stem/knee walls.
- Glasgow High School, in Glasgow, KY: Fox Blocks materials were used in 100% of the exterior walls, totaling 31,000 square feet.
- City of Las Vegas Fire Station 106, Las Vegas, NV: Fox Blocks materials were used in 68% of the exterior walls, totaling 5,400 square feet. In addition, there were 1,339 of ICF interior walls.
- A Better House, Inc., Nashville, TN: Fox Blocks materials were used in 100% of the exterior walls, totaling 7,645 feet.
- New Meadows Long-term Care Facility, Las Vegas, NM: Fox Blocks materials were used 100% of the exterior walls, totaling 32,000 square feet.
“Reduction in overall energy usage and sustainable construction was the primary goal for each of these projects, and all the builders were seeking various levels of energy efficiency and LEED certification,” said Mike Kennaw, Vice President of Sales. “At Fox Blocks we are continually seeking to develop products and building systems that exceed the needs of our customers. Whether it is commercial or residential construction, the time savings realized in the construction phase coupled with the all-encompassing sustainable features, makes Fox Blocks the right choice”.
Fox Blocks new product lines include: Fox Blocks HV Clip, Fox Blocks Energy Stick, Fox Curb Block, and Fully Integrated Continuous Insulation Fox Buck.
Two Proven Areas to Remove Costs
Problem: Historically, Corner Blocks have proved to be very difficult for installing contractors to hold the corner positioning or actually holding concrete during the consolidation process. Contractors have resorted to inserting internal ties, external strapping and bracing to gain needed strength. This adds cost in additional materials and man-hour rates.
Solution: Our engineering staff at Fox Blocks developed more length to the corners and introduced the heaviest cross tie corner bracket in the market. When adding these features to our large/strong interlock, this stopped rotation or movement within the blocks during the pour and added needed burst
Result: Confidence to the installing contractor, lower man hour rates and lower material costs proven by over 5 years of successful projects. Utilizing our Fox Blocks “next Generation” corner block design will save you money through time and material reductions. strength. Having this bracket and no less than two ties from each corner in all 45″ and 90″ block eliminates need for additional strapping or internal ties.
Cost: The Fox Blocks corners cost the same per square foot as the Fox straight block. Cost will appear higher than our competitors because our corners are 16″ or more in length. In many cases our corners are actually lower in cost per square foot and at the same time saving you even more in the time and materials.
2. Truss Wire (Form Lock, Block Lock)
Problem: Some ICF interlocks and slender plastic webs have caused the need of internal truss wire to aid in producing adequate strength to add rigidity to produce a straight wall.
Solution: Two very simple Fox Blocks innovations cured this problem:
- A bold and reversible interlock was created to help hold the wall true.
- A full height internal tie was designed to use solid stacking strength to hold the wall from settling or racking.
Result: A wall that, through design, eliminates the need for truss wire.
Using Fox Blocks Eliminates the Need for Truss Wire
Truss wire costs over $0.50 per lineal foot and is called for at bottom of wall and then every 4 or 5 rows of block. Actual cost = Over $0.14 per sq ft in materials and at least $0.04 per sq ft labor for a total of $0.18 or more per sq ft cost. This is equivalent to $0.40 per block.
ICF Contractor Don Coleman with ICF Specialties gives the lowdown on working with Fox Blocks’ insulated concrete forms for all projects with the Catholic Diocese in Arizona.
Simply start from each corner to a point within the wall. Cut one of the blocks to fit perfectly. The cut does NOT need to be on the cut lines. Measure the cut block and mark its measurement to the side of that block large enough for everyone to see.
Start from the corners again and when you reach the cut block on row one, cut the block above it to line up exactly. Again the cut does not need to be on the cut line. Measure the cut block and mark its measurement to the side of that block large enough for everyone to see.
(five, seven, nine, etc)
Should be exactly the same as row one.
(six, eight, ten, etc)
Should be exactly the same as row two.
Prior to Concrete:
Simply connect vertical seams together with strapping, or plywood, on both sides of each block. Use one 12” to 24” long strap, 3” to 6” wide, made out of 1 x wood boards or plywood sheathing attached with one screw in each tie on each side of seam.
We have found that the man hour rate will drop using this method because the crew spends less time thinking how they can get closer to the building dimension and more time actually being productive.
Building Multiple Levels with Different Sized Block:
All sizes of Fox Blocks ICF’s fit well on top of each other for any type of configuration with little or no modifications needed. This is simple math. Fox Blocks ICF’s are reversible with 2” projections and recesses which means you will work with a 4” offset. For this reason the 4”, 8” and 12” block all work well together as they are all divisible by 4”. Using the same math the 6” block attaches to all sizes of Fox Blocks with a 2” difference in tie alignment. This is not a concern as this joint line will usually happen at a floor diaphragm.
6″ Corner block on Top of 8″, 10″ or 12″ Block:
The 6” corner works well on top of the 8”, 10” or 12” corner blocks when going around an outside corner. For inside corners simply remove the projections off the corner block and continue building. You may need to create a stacked seam on one or both sides of the inside corner at which time we recommend you just move the stacked seams for each wall closer to that inside corner.
For the past twenty+ years the interlock of most ICF’s in the industry have been designed to be within 1/2” to 1” of the desired building dimension. Most contractors have been trained that it is acceptable to be this far off the desired dimension.
When the Fox Blocks interlock was designed our Engineering staff made the choice not to focus on being within 1/2” to 1” from the building dimension but to give the strongest interlock possible. To do this they turned the projections and recesses of the interlock parallel to the block itself and for simplicity/strength they made them 1” wide and 2” long. We feel you should be square and exactly on the building dimension with all walls and for this reason recommend stacking seams when needed.
Benefits of the Large Interlock:
- Minimized movement during concrete placement
- No adhesive required due to tightness of interlock
- Eliminates the need for truss wire within the wall
- The full height ties are always on top or 4” apart of each other
Bottom Line: Stop letting 20 year old thinking slow you down!