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.
The Fox Block insulating concrete form (ICF) is an excellent wall system for a disaster-resistant school. Schools built with Fox blocks ICFs maintain their integrity during winds of over 200 mph and resist flying debris moving over 100 mph. Fox Blocks are also fire-resistant. A smart material choice for a disaster-resistant school is Fox Blocks ICFs.
The Importance of Disaster-Resistant Schools
Disaster-resistant schools are designed to protect the building and its occupants from intense wind events and fires. Importantly, many schools are required to have a safe room big enough to hold all the students, teachers, and administrators learning and working in the building.
Protecting Schools from Tornados and Hurricanes
Disaster-resistant schools are crucial for protecting our children and teachers from severe wind events. In 2013, the need for wind-resistant schools became tragically clear. A tornado, with winds of 210 mph, hit and destroyed two elementary schools in Moore, Oklahoma, killing seven children when a wall collapsed. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina significantly damaged 110 of the 126 public schools in New Orleans. Disaster-resistant schools must protect the structure and occupants during tornadoes, hurricanes and other strong wind events.
Protecting Schools from Fires
Fire-resistant design protects the building and its occupants from fires that occur inside and outside of the school. The importance of fire-resistant construction has escalated in recent years, due in large part to the increase in massive wildfires. Protecting the students, teachers, and building during an outside or inside fire event requires a school designed with passive fire protection and fire-resistant materials.
Building a Wind-Resistant School with ICF
The design of a storm-resistant school protects against strong winds and flying debris. Critical to wind-resistant school design is a continuous load path with the strength to resist penetrations from airborne sticks, falling trees, and other debris.
Protect a School Against Strong Winds with a Continuous Load Path
ICF wall construction creates a strong continuous path that ensures the structure will maintain its integrity against winds over 200 mph. In fact, a report published by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) compared the structural load resistance of conventionally framed walls to ICF walls. The report concluded that concrete walls have greater structural capacity and stiffness to resist the in-plane shear forces of severe winds than steel- or wood-framed walls. A school built with ICF has the strength and integrity to withstand winds over 200 mph.
Protect Against Wind-Driven Debris
ICF wall construction is a school’s best protection against wind-driven debris. Worth noting, a study by Texas Tech University found that ICF walls will resist damage debris flying over 100 mph and provides better protection to the building and its occupants during a severe wind event compared to wood-framed walls.
Building a Fire-Resistant School with ICF
Crucial elements for a fire-resistant school include passive fire protection with the use of fire-resistant exterior walls, roofs, doors, windows, and vents. Passive fire protection contains the spread of fire throughout a school building, which reduces dangers to students, teachers, visitors, and property. Passive fire protection also protects critical structural components and stops the collapse of a building. Accomplishing passive fire protection is through the use of fire-resistant walls, windows, doors, roofs, and vents.
Fox Block ICFs Create Disaster-Resistant Schools
Fox Blocks Build Wind-Resistant Schools
Schools constructed with Fox Block insulating concrete forms (ICF) maintain their integrity during intense winds of over 200 mph. Fox Blocks also resist projectile debris traveling over 100 mph. Building a school or a safe room with Fox Blocks ICF can ensure the safety of students and teachers during a dangerous wind event.
Fox Blocks Create Fire-Resistant Structures
An excellent option for a fire-resistant building is Fox Blocks ICF. Fox Blocks have a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 2 hours for the 4-inch blocks and 4 hours for the 6-inch blocks. In addition, Fox Blocks have ASTM E84 reported value for smoke development of less than 450 and flame speed of less than 25. Fox Blocks protect students and teachers from the threat of fire inside and outside of the school.
Build a Disaster-Resistant School with Fox Block ICF
The Fox Block is a superb product for building a disaster-resistant school. Fox Block construction protects a school and its occupants from severe wind events and fire. Please visit Fox Block for more information on building a disaster-resistant school.
Wall systems constructed with Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms (ICFs ) ensure a wind-resistant structure with a strong continuous load path that holds the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together during an intense wind event. Fox Blocks also protect a structure and its occupants from projectile debris flying at over 100 mph during a strong storm.
The value of choosing Fox Blocks ICF construction was demonstrated in 2013, when a powerful EF5 tornado, with estimated speeds of 210 mph, attacked Moore, Oklahoma. The horrific wind event killed 24 and injured 212 people, wiping out most of the neighborhoods.
Left standing, however, was a ICF home built in 2004. For maximum protection against severe wind events, builders and architects are wise to choose Fox Blocks ICF construction.
The Importance of Wind-Resistant Design
A wind-resistant building design protects a structure and its occupants from strong winds and flying debris. Wind-resistant design is particularly important in hurricane- and tornado-prone regions.
A category one hurricane can destroy mobile homes. A category four hurricane, like Irma that hit the Florida Keys in 2017, can destroy wood-framed buildings and cause complete roof failure and wall collapse. A wind-resistant structure should remaining standing during and after severe wind events.
A wind-resistant building must also have the strength to stop flying debris from penetrating the wall system and threaten lives.
Essential Elements of Wind-Resistant Building Design
Wind-resistant construction is essential for protecting a building and its occupants from disastrous outcomes during strong wind events. Critical to wind-resistant building design is a continuous load path with strong roofs, walls, floors, and foundations, and impact resistance.
Continuous Load Path for Wind-Resistant Design
For wind-resistant building design, a continuous load path is the best protection against strong winds. A continuous load path ensures that when a load, including uplift and lateral (horizontal) loads, attacks a structure, the load will move from the roof, wall, and other parts, toward the foundation and into the ground.
A strong continuous load path is critical to holding the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together during a strong wind event of winds of over 200 mph.
Roof Construction of a Wind-Resistant Building
During high winds, building failures often begin with damage to the roof. A roof’s purpose, in a continuous load path, is to transfers the loads imposed by heavy winds to the supporting walls underneath. The roof sheathing works with the roof framing to transfer lateral loads to the structure’s shear walls.
For the protection of a building during a severe wind event, the building and sizing of the roof sheathing and framing must be in accordance with the wind forces of the region.
FEMA’s Building Framing Systems and Best Practices approves the use of common nails to connect roof sheathing to supporting components in areas where wind speeds are less than 100 mph. Mandated in higher wind regions are ring-shank nails. Recommended in the corner zones eaves and the roof, where winds can cause large uplifts, are wood nails.
After the roof sheathing, the roof framing is the next element found within the load path of a building. The roof framing transfers lateral loads to the shear walls. The rafters of a roof’s frame must be sized to resist the weight of the roof system, and also the loads caused by wind.
Floor Construction of a Wind-Resistant Building Design
The floor system is part of the continuous path that transfers the loads to the shear walls in the floors below or to the foundation. Floor framing typically consists of dimensional lumber, or floor joists, spanning an open area. Floor joists must be sized to resist the loads of the whole floor system along with vertical loads.
The floor of a wind-resistant building ensures the loads reach the foundation and ultimately the ground.
Impact Resistance of Wind-Resistant Design
During an intense wind event, flying debris is a constant threat to a building and its occupants. A best practice for protecting a structure and its occupants from flying debris are walls constructed with ICF. ICF provides greater resistance to damage from flying debris than wood-framed walls.
Buildings constructed with ICF walls protect the building and its occupants during extreme wind events of over 100 mph.
Fox Block ICF for Wind-Resistant Building Design
Buildings constructed with Fox Block ICF maintain their integrity during intense winds of over 200 mph and resist projectile debris moving over 100 mph.
Importantly, a report by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) concluded that ICF walls have greater structural capacity and stiffness to withstand the in-plane shear forces of high wind than wood- and steel-framed walls. Also, the strength of insulated concrete walls reduces the lateral twists and damage to non-structural elements.
Fox Blocks ICFs have the durability to withstand severe wind events and dangerous flying debris.
Wind-resistant building design must include a strong continuous load path that holds the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together and protects against flying debris during an intense wind event. A best practice for wind-resistant walls is building with Fox Blocks. Fox Blocks create wind-resistant walls that protect a building and its occupants from strong wind and flying debris.
Please visit Fox Blocks for more information on wind-resistant building design.
Insulated concrete forms (ICF) create a more energy-efficient, quiet, and healthy building than one built with wood-frame construction. ICF buildings are also more resistant to disaster, fire, insect, and moisture intrusion than wood-frame structures.
Furthermore, builders and architects can avoid the volatility and increasing costs of lumber by utilizing an easy to install ICF wall system, like Fox Block, as an excellent alternative to wood-frame construction.
For over 100 years, wood-frame construction has been common in the United States because it is quick, light, renewable, and easily customizable. Wood construction also does not require heavy equipment or tools.
However, architects, contractors, and building owners must contend with several challenges with wood-frame construction: disaster-, fire- and termite-resistance, moisture intrusion, compromised indoor air quality (IAQ), noise control, low thermal mass, and rising timber costs.
7 Problems with Wood-Frame Construction
1. Added Expenses
A disaster-resistant, wood-frame building must achieve a continuous load path to the ground and be missile resistant. Building a disaster-resilient wood-framed structure is doable, but it is expensive and labor intensive. In fact, constructing a disaster-resistant wood-framed building can cost 25–30 percent more than standard wood-frame construction.
2. Increased Fire Risk
Building a wood-frame structure that is fire-resistant is challenging because wood is combustible and it is difficult to reduce the spread of flames. Wood-frame buildings are particularly vulnerable to fire damage during construction before placement of fire protection over the frame.
3. Attractive to Termites
Wood-frame construction is subject to termite problems. Termites can damage a building’s durability and cost thousands of dollars in repairs. In fact, the annual estimated expense for termite damage and control measures in the U.S. is $5 billion. Termite protection for wood-frame construction is challenging and requires a qualified professional and specialized equipment.
4. Moisture Accumulation
Wood-frame structures are prone to moisture accumulation in their wall cavities. Controlling moisture in the wall system of a wood-framed building is difficult because effective methods that stop moisture from entering a wall cavity may also stop the moisture from leaving the wall cavity.
5. Volatile Organic Compounds
Wood-frame buildings may contain adhesives, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that compromise IAQ. VOCs emissions may cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, headaches, nausea, and damage to the kidney, liver, and central nervous system.
6. Harder to Soundproof
For wood-frame wall construction, soundproofing features are required to ensure a quiet and peaceful home. Reducing noise in a wood-frame building is accomplished by limiting sound vibrations with insulation, stud placement, or extra mass within the wall cavity.
7. Low Thermal Mass
Wood has low thermal mass. Therefore, wood-framed structures are not as innately energy-efficient as buildings constructed with high thermal mass products like stone, adobe, and Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms.
ICFs Vs. Wood-Frame Construction
The Fox Block ICF wall system is easier to install and more energy-efficient and noise-reducing than wood-frame construction. The Fox Block system is also healthier and more disaster-, fire-, termites-, and moisture-resistant than wood wall systems. Finally, ICF construction gives builders a way to avoid the volatility and rising lumber costs.
10 Reasons to Choose Fox Blocks ICF over Wood-Frame Wall Systems
1. Minimizing Unnecessary Steps
Fox Block is an all-in-one wall assembly that combines five construction steps into one, including structure, insulation, air barrier, vapor retarder, and interior-exterior finish attachment. This feature greatly accelerates project delivery by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades, while achieving all of the wall system’s objectives.
2. Increased Energy Efficiency
Fox Blocks, with an R-value of 23, are energy-efficient and exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements. In fact, houses built with ICF exterior walls typically require 32 percent less energy to cool and 44 percent less energy to heat than comparable wood-framed homes.
3. High Thermal Mass
The high thermal mass of Fox Blocks contributes towards a high-performing, energy-efficient structure. High thermal mass materials absorb and store heat energy and help stabilize temperature shifts within the structure by slowing the rate of heat transfer.
4. Reduction of Noise Transfer
Sound transmission tests concluded that less than a third of sound passes through ICF walls than wood-frame walls filled with fiberglass insulation. Fox Blocks achieve a Sound Transmission Classification (ASTM E90) of 4-inch=STC 46, 6- and 8-inch = STC 50+.
5. Better Air Quality
Fox Blocks contain little to no VOC, keeping the air quality at a higher level.
6. Exceptional Strength
Fox Blocks are disaster-resistant: Fox Blocks, with steel reinforced concrete, are disaster-resistant and can withstand tornado and hurricane winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris traveling over 100 MPH.
7. Reduced Fire Risk
Fox Blocks are fire-resistant. Fox Blocks have a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours for the 6-inch blocks and 2 hours for the 4-inch blocks.
8. Deters Termites and Pests
Fox Blocks are less prone to termite damage because they because they lack organic material, which pests like termites eat.
9. Controls Moisture Intrusion
Fox Blocks provide a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall with a perm rating of less than 1.0, which controls moisture intrusion and prohibits the growth of mold, mildew, and rot.
10. Less Volatility in Material Prices
Builders and architects can avoid the volatility and increasing costs of lumber by selecting an alternative to wood-framed walls like the Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms.
Choosing an Alternative to Wood-Frame Construction
An excellent alternative to wood-frame construction is Fox Block ICF wall assembly.
Fox Block ICF structures are more resistant to disaster, fire, insect, and moisture intrusion than wood-frame buildings.
Additionally, Fox Blocks create a more efficient-efficient, noise reducing, and healthy building than wood structures. Moreover, Fox Blocks are also easy to install and provide an alternative product to combat increasing lumber prices.
Please visit Fox Blocks for more information on ICF vs. wood-frame construction.