I recently read an article of an experiment in Home Energy magazine. They built three homes in the same area, orientation, and floor plan — one with ICF, one with Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) and one with 2-inch x 6-inch spray foam insulation. They conditioned each to the same temperature and shut the HVAC off at 12 noon. They monitored each to see how long it took for each to rise to a designated temperature. The ICF lasted the longest, the SIP came in second (reaching its temperature a couple hours before), and the 2-inch x 6-inch spray foam home reached the designated temperature first.
ICF has thermal storage characteristics because of the concrete. This can be of greater benefit to regions that experience cool nights and warm days. The warmth collected during the day will radiate at night and vice versa.
The strength, sound resistance, and fire resistance are higher with ICF over stick frame.
Joe Bowling is president and founder of Energy Wise Solutions, a renewable energy/energy efficiency company based in Charlotte, N.C. The company provides services for homeowners and businesses including home energy audits, solar consulting, solar equipment sales, NABCEP certified installations, solar repairs and solar thermal, and green building verification for LEED, Energy Star and NAHB Green Building.