ICFs Help Green Builder Create a Passive Solar Home
A builder in Australia chose insulated concrete form construction to build a passive solar home to save on heating and cooling costs.
To meet the homeowner's goals, Knight Building Group used a passive solar design for the luxury residential project in Caulfield North, Victoria.
An accredited Master Builder Green Living Builder, Knight Building Group specializes in delivering living spaces based on passive design. A key objective for the green builder is to create thermally stable homes that can heat and cool naturally, minimising their reliance on artificial heating and cooling systems.
For passive design to be effective, both thermal mass and insulation are required to be integrated into the build. Thermal mass is the ability to store energy while insulation slows down heat transfer.
Cold, sunless days can impact the effectiveness of passive design. Similarly, a fully insulated home will still end up using artificial heating and cooling systems to control the air temperature if too much energy is being stored.
Aiming to achieve thermal stability in their latest project located, Knight Building Group sought building materials that could store heat energy and also slow down thermal transfer.
The builder chose ZEGO insulated concrete forms feature a reinforced concrete core insulated with 60mm of foam insulation on both sides. Insulated foam panels on both sides create a wall, so that it takes longer to heat or cool down. A building can be made thermally stable by having the right amount of insulation on either side of the reinforced concrete core.
Knight Building Group selected the ZEGO FireFORM system for the external walls, helping create an extremely tight insulated shell that could keep the air inside the dwellings sealed from outside temperature changes. The ZEGO FireFORM 60mm foam panel with an R-rating of approximately 1.5 per 50mm foam actually slows down the transfer of thermal energy.
Both the thermal mass of the concrete as well as the insulation provided by the sacrificial foam panels combine to regulate the temperature inside the home in different ways, helping keep the interior space comfortable for occupants.
The result for Knight Building Group was that their passive design homes require only half the HVAC infrastructure necessary for a comparable traditionally built building, thanks to the insulated concrete forms stabilizing temperatures inside the homes very quickly to change the internal air temperature.
Read more about insulated concrete form construction.