Of the many reasons to choose Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) for a major construction project, noise reduction is one of the least-discussed, as the inherent insulation the material provides is usually the major contributing factor to the decision. However, ICF provides a large enough benefit for sound that projects where noise is a concern should prioritize ICF for their material choice.

ICF Wall Systems are the superior choice for building commercial theaters, due to how they contain internal sound as well as mitigate external sound.

When choosing materials for theaters, where sound is a key concern, the Sound Transmission Class (STC) takes on major importance. STC measures the transmission loss values of a waveform: in this case, the decrease in intensity of sound as it resonates through a given building material.

Traditional building materials often don’t score well in this area. Insulated wood walls generally maintain an STC of around 38, meaning loud speaking voices are audible on the other side. ICF, on the other hand, scores around 50-55, meaning shouting can only be heard faintly, or not at all.

For theater applications, 55 STC ICF is the most efficient, potent sound-dampening material for large construction. Loud noise is almost completely contained, and importantly for such a bass-heavy setting, ICF reduces vibration heavily, preventing transference between viewing rooms.

The higher STC ceiling made possible by ICF gives theater owners opportunities to expand their audio palette. Overall louder sounds, of course, but also more bass, which helps theaters provide an audiovisual experience that few can match with even high-end home theater equipment.

This visceral element is more important than ever for mainstream theaters, which increasingly rely on bombastic event films to attract audiences.

Dampening external sounds is also an important factor when building a theater. ICF helps to expand the number of locations available to theater owners, including areas close to airports and highways that produce near-constant ambient noise.

While supplemental materials can reduce sound further, or provide specific sound stages for certain tones, an ICF structure alone dramatically reduces noise between rooms. A 50-55 STC baseline is already far beyond the starting point of 38 for a fully insulated wood construction, so for new theater projects, ICF is the sensible choice of building material.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of ICF theater construction.

With expanding populations and aging construction, many districts are continually putting proposals together to accommodate more students. Concerns for our school children, in addition to their education, are elements of comfort and safety during their school day. Budgeters are also searching for the best way to spend the limited resources on hand for the construction and renovation of school buildings.

Insulated Concrete Form wall systems, Fox Blocks, are a way to create an extremely safe structure. This durable wall system protects against high impact winds and debris from hurricanes and tornadoes. When teachers and students return to an ICF school, they are protected against these elements.

In areas with extreme heat or extreme cold, it is difficult, and costly, to provide a comfortable atmosphere. The “ice cream sandwich” effect of encasing concrete block with insulated foam on either side creates a more sustainable and more comfortable environment for staff and students. This innovative insulation also creates a sound buffer, allowing classrooms independence from one another even if volume levels increase.

Public schools are built and maintained with taxpayer dollars, therefore those creating proposals to pitch to the taxpayers need to have a positive goal in mind to sell the idea of possible tax increases or millage renewals. By using ICFs to create a more comfortable environment, it also keeps heat and cool air where it needs to be, surrounding our students, and not escaping through the walls. Heating and cooling bills will decrease significantly and these high-quality durable materials will last a long time, allowing the necessity for taxpayer dollars to decrease in construction and utility areas.

Our staff and our students deserve the best that construction can offer for safety and for comfort. Learn more about Fox Blocks, ICFs, and other products to make school construction projects the best they can be.

There’s no doubt that the idea of tiny home living is taking off in a big way across the country. But what’s the big fascination over tiny homes really all about? There are a couple of forces driving the tiny home movement — namely, the desire to free up the large percentage of income that goes toward housing and an intentional choice to live more simply. 

The average homeowner conservatively spends a little more than a quarter of his annual, pretax income on housing. That includes mortgage, property taxes and insurance. Lots of people spend more like 35%, which is as high as many lenders will allow. If you can build a tiny home for say, $50,000 and a get a piece of property for about the same amount, you’re probably going to be spending far less, and that’s a powerful attraction for people wanting to put that money into things like retirement, repaying student loans, or traveling, among other things.

The motivation to life a simpler life is not only about saving money, but also about making a smaller impact on the planet and a pared down lifestyle that makes a statement about American consumerism and the societal drive for more of everything.

Even though the median house size has grown by more than 10 percent over the past decade (per U.S. census figures), there’s little doubt that the tiny home concept has grown in popularity, thanks to T.V. shows such as Tiny House Builders, Tiny House Nation, and Tiny House, Big Living. Even if you’re not actually considering building a tiny home, it’s still interesting to see all the creative ways to use a limited amount of space and still manage to live in relative comfort.

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