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Glen’s Contractor Tip Corner

Whenever possible I head out for an early morning walk with two objectives, to let my wife think I’m walking for my health and to get to the Starbucks that is 10 minutes from my home. Health experts agree that we need to walk 30 minutes each day for our health, so I walk really slow.

It’s already fall and just above freezing temperature; as I head out for my 6 am walk I can see my warm breath in the cool air. This puts a smile on my face as I think of all the conventional concrete guys who will soon realize how much better they will be to use ICF’s for their jobs. In cold or hot weather ICF’s hug the concrete and protect it from the outside temperatures. I make a mental note to start promoting this to the conventional guys.

I can remember being in Cave Creek, AZ, where a condo complex was being built and temperatures were 112°F at 7:00am. ICF’s were used to help keep the buildings cool but it also protected the concrete as it cured. That morning the Architect was contemplating using wood frame for a different project he was designing so I asked him how these ICF buildings were performing in the hot weather. He started to explain how amazed he was that even before the utilities are hooked up all the workers headed inside them at break time because they stayed cool on those hot days. I just smiled as he realized what he had just said. The next building he designed was ICF.

Anyway, here I am up north thinking it will soon be -40°F and I’m still living here. If anyone is actually reading this I would encourage you to come and experience -40°F with me. The thrill of attempting to run to your car before freezing to death only to find that it will not start because you forgot to plug it in. This is one reason we love the north, with these thoughts my heart is up to about 90 BPM as if I just walked 30 minutes!  Some day, if I can think of it, I’ll let you know the other reason.


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  • Chris L. Gaxiola
    January 22, 2011, 1:53 pm REPLY

    Hi Glen, I’m an ICF subcontractor in southern AZ, Cochise county. I’m getting ready to show a couple a few projects under construction I’ve recently completed my part of (ICF walls).
    One of these projects a home is being built by a local plumber (his home), His brother also a plumber built an ICF about ten years ago.
    Danial is installing an interesting heating and cooling system. Like his brother he installed pipe in his concrete slab heated by solar energy, unlike his brother he built a small basement and in the summer the water is cooled by running through the basement ICF walls and circulated through his slab to cool his home. Ya know the funny thing is Danial’s brother’s house is so efficent he didn’t hook his hot water heating system untill quite a few years after he moved his family in. Amazing.

  • Glen Klassen
    January 27, 2011, 3:54 pm REPLY

    Thanks for the comment Chris,
    Up north where I live our power company told me that thermal mass does not work. I then asked them to explain why the heating and cooling costs are 50% of other new homes built to their high standard. They did not have an answer.
    I look forward to the day when ICF’s will be fully understood.

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