Increasing Energy-Efficiency in Schools with ICF Construction
Schools built with Fox Block insulated concrete forms (ICF) are energy-efficient, healthy, and comfortable. Building with Fox Block ICF also helps a school achieve U.S. Green Building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
A LEED-certified school saves communities energy, money, and resources. Builders, architects, and community leaders who choose ICF when constructing a new school will ensure a green, safe, and productive environment for their students and teachers.
LEED Certification for Schools
The U.S. Green Building LEED for schools is a green building certification program for K-12 schools. The program evaluates classroom acoustics, energy-efficiency, master planning, mold prevention, and environmental site assessment.
The schools are also rated based on their impact on their sites, design, material used, sourcing, construction, and efficiency of building systems including, water, energy, air quality, lighting, waste, and transportation. There are currently over 2,000 LEED-certified K-12 schools in the United States.
Categories for LEED-Certification
For a school to be a LEED-certified, the school must obtain a minimum number of points in six specific areas.
- Use of water and energy
- Indoor air quality and comfort
- Innovation in sustainable design and construction
- Site selection and development
- Environmentally preferred materials, finishes, and furnishings
- Waste stream management
4 Energy-Efficient Strategies for a LEED-Certified School
1. A Green School Must have a Tight Building Envelope
A vital element of a LEED-certified school is a tight building envelope that stops the flow of heat by air, vapor, and radiation. The building envelope includes the walls, roof, windows, doors, and foundation.
Essential design elements for a tight building envelope are continuous insulation (CI), an air and moisture barrier, and utilization of materials with low-conductivity and high effective R-value and thermal mass. A tight building envelope creates an energy-efficient school and is a crucial element towards LEED-certification.
Construct Energy-Efficient Walls with Fox Block ICF
Fox Block creates an airtight building envelope for an energy-efficient, LEED-certified school. Fox Blocks are a high thermal mass product that provides continuous insulation and an R-value of 23.
Fox Blocks also produce a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall with a perm rating of less than 1.0, which controls moisture intrusion. Fox Block ICFs create green schools with superb energy performance and moisture resistance; essential factors towards LEED-certification.
2. Acoustic Design in LEED-Certified Schools Must Optimize Communication
Designing effective acoustical spaces in schools is crucial for clear communication between the students and the teachers. Noisy or echoey rooms can distract students and slow their learning. To create effective acoustical spaces in schools, designers should select materials with high sound transmission coefficients (STC) ratings.
Designers should also consider reverberation times, and background noise levels like ventilating, heating, and air-conditioning vents and lined ductwork. Reducing noise problems in schools is essential to a productive environment for both students and teachers.
Create Optimal Acoustic Spaces with Fox Blocks
An excellent wall system for creating a learning space that optimizes communication between the students and teacher is the Fox Block Series.
Fox Block Series ICF provides an exterior and interior wall system with high sound reduction. The Fox Block Series meets the American National Standards Institute criteria for schools and received a high ASTM E90 Sound Transmission Classification (STC) rating of more than 50.
3. ICF Schools Ensure Excellent Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Excellent IAQ is vital for ensuring a healthy environment for teachers and students. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), indoor air is two to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified schools provide cleaner indoor air that is healthier than the air in uncertified schools.
- LEED-certified schools require ventilation, high-efficiency air filters and measures to reduce mold and mildew. When spaces are closed up with little ventilation, they can become incubators for mold and germs, which causes illnesses and increases absentee rates of the students and teachers. Therefore, proper ventilation is essential to the air quality in a school.
- Air and moisture resistance in a school’s wall system is also essential for preventing air and moisture infiltration and accumulation to the interior of the structure, which can lead to mold and further diminish a school’s IAQ.
4. Ensure Excellent IAQ with Fox Blocks ICF
Fox Blocks provide a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall with a perm rating of less than 1.0, which controls moisture intrusion. Furthermore, Fox Block’s two layers of continuous interior and exterior EPS insulation give additional protection against water intrusion.
Together, the EPS and concrete provide air and vapor barriers on both sides of the wall, which prevents moisture accumulation within the wall system and the growth of unhealthy mold.
Fox Blocks further promotes excellent IAQ because they do not contain volatile organic compounds VOC. VOCs emissions, often common in wood construction, may cause headaches, nausea, eye, nose, and throat irritations, and damage to the kidneys, central nervous system, and liver.
Fox Blocks ICF Forms Ideal for Schools
The Fox Block is a superb product for building a LEED-certified, green school. Fox Blocks create a tight energy-efficient building envelope with continuous insulation, moisture resistance, and high thermal mass. Fox Blocks also produces schools with high IAQ and noise control.
Please visit Fox Block for more information on building an energy-efficient, LEED-certified school with insulation concrete form.