Building Energy-Efficient, Safe, and Healthy Low-Income Housing with Fox Block ICFs

Screen Shot 2019 10 08 at 12 19 05 PMn

A critical shortage of affordable housing demands construction of new low-income homes. Low-income housing must provide reasonable rents and manageable monthly utilities. The new housing must protect the occupants from natural disaster and also create a healthy environment. Insulated concrete forms (ICF), like Fox Blocks, provides a building solution to low-income housing. Fox Blocks ICFs create energy-efficient, safe, and healthy homes, with manageable rents and low energy bills.

The Need for More Affordable Housing

In the United States, the shortage of more than 7.2 million affordable rental homes for extremely low-income renter households devastates not just families, but their communities. Currently, only 37 affordable homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. In some states, like Texas, the number is even less, 29 affordable homes for every hundred families in need. Clearly, the need for more low-income homes, across the country, is at a crisis level.

Low-income housing provides benefits to both families and the economy. Families in stable and affordable homes earn more, which contributes to greater GDP growth. In fact, researchers estimate that better access to affordable housing, between 1964 and 2009, would have increased GDP growth by 13.5 percent. Moreover, children living in affordable homes are more likely to thrive in school and have better learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

The Demand for Energy- Efficient Low-Income Housing

Screen Shot 2019 10 08 at 12 15 16 PM

United States government scientists confirmed that July of 2019 produced the hottest month on record, replacing July 2016. Record-breaking lows also occurred in 2019. These extreme temperature patterns confirm that home energy use isn't just a matter of comfort, but also one of safety and health.

Unfortunately, a report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that 31 percent of low-income households face challenges when paying energy bills to properly cool and heat their homes. Furthermore, low-income households pay 7.2 percentof their household income on utilities, while median-income households only pay 3.5 percent of their household income on utilities. Ensuring manageable monthly expenses must include an energy-efficient design for low-income housing.

The Importance of Disaster-Resistant Low-Income Housing

Low-income families often live in houses with poor quality construction or mobile homes. A recent report, in fact, found that worldwide, the poorest 20 percent of people are 1.8 times more likely to live in fragile homes and so more susceptible to danger during a natural disaster. New affordable housing must include disaster-resistant features for the safety of the occupants and the protection of their property.

The Urgency for Moisture-Resistant Low-Income Housing

Many low-income families live in older homes which increases the family's exposure to unhealthy mold due to moisture infiltration. Mold can lead to allergic and asthmatic reactions, particularly with young children. For the health of low-income families, the design of affordable homes should include moisture-resistance.

Fox Blocks ICF Builds Energy-Efficient, Safe, and Healthy Low-Income Housing in Lubbock TX

Lubbock, Texas leads the nation in building sustainable, low-income housing with the use of Fox Block ICF construction. According to contractor Pat Kelly, who has completed nearly 140 low to medium projects in Lubbock, Fox Blocks provides a superior building method of construction. Kelly found that Fox Blocks were quicker to install, achieved better cuts, and produced less waste than other building methods. Moreover, these ICF homes average only $30 a month in energy bills. The homes are also disaster-resistant and healthy.

Fox Block ICFs for Energy-Efficient Low-Income Housing

Fox Blocks, with an R-value of 23 and high thermal mass, provides continuous insulation and surpasses the ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements. The Fox Blocks ICF wall system minimizes air infiltration by creating a tight building envelope with continuous insulation. Both features lower energy use and save money. Homes built with ICF walls use 32 percent less energy to cool and 44 percent less energy to warm than wood-framed homes. The tight building envelope must also include energy-efficient glazings suitable to the home's climate zone and a cool roof system.

Fox Block ICFs for Wind-Resistant Low-Income Housing

Fox Blocks (with steel-reinforced concrete) can endure tornado and hurricane winds exceeding 200 MPH and projectile debris traveling exceeding 100 MPH. Notably, the peak winds of Hurricane Dorian that devastated the Bahamas in September of 2019 were 185 mph; the strongest storm on record in the Bahamas.

Fox Blocks ICFs for Fire-Resistant Low-Income Housing

An escalation in massive wildfires demands the incorporation of fire-resistant features in affordable homes. Fortunately, fire-resistant Fox Blocks, with a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4-hours for the 6-inch blocks and 2-hours for the 4-inch blocks, protects a home and its occupants in the event of a fire.

Fox Blocks ICF Create Healthy Low-Income Housing

Fox Blocks creates a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall, with a perm rating of less than 1.0, that controls the moisture accumulation and stops the growth of mold within a home's wall system.

Screen Shot 2019 10 08 at 12 18 15 PM

Building low-income housing with Fox Block ICF ensures an energy-efficient, safe, and healthy home. Importantly, ICF homes ensure manageable rents and reduce energy bills. For more information on building low-income homes with ICF, please visit Fox Blocks.