Sustainable Building Shell Construction
Quad-Lock will be hosting two, 6-hour
training seminars during World of Concrete in Las Vegas,
February 5th and 6th, 2009. The seminars will be held at the
Embassy Suites Hotel.
These seminars will feature construction
Insulated, poured-in-place walls
Green roof structures
Multi-story ICF construction
Insulated tilt-up panels
Suspended ICF floors
In addition, Quad-Lock's new R-ETRO
insulation system will be introduced and time will be spent
building a strategy for your green construction or design
for one of these training sessions.
Jerry Yudelson, green building guru,
Principal of Yudelson Associates and also the Chair of the
steering committee for the GreenBuild Conference and Trade Show,
recently wrote an update about the first major makeover in the
past 5 years for the USGBC's LEED program - LEED 2009. You need
to know that all of the current systems disappeared on December
In essence, Mr. Yudelson says that it's going to be a bit
rocky at the beginning. For example, contracts for the required
400-page "Reference Guides" that will help you understand the
bare-bones language of the new standards (which are available on
USGBC website) have just been awarded, with a delivery date
of Summer 2009. That means it will be hard to know exactly where
you stand with a given project, until that time.
In addition, the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) exam,
which tests potential assessors' credentials, is also shut down
as of December, for an undetermined period of time, while a new
test is created, vetted and rolled out.
The USGBC is transitioning its document review and
certification from a handful of contract 'review teams' to ten
ISO-type certification oversight organizations, which in turn
will accredit individual assessors. The method for becoming an
assessor has not yet been set up.
So, if your project was not registered prior to December 31,
2008 be warned that you'll probably need extra budget to handle
the transition period and resultant confusion that will likely
persist well into 2009.
Introduction to ICFs Webinars
There are lots of people out there who have questions about
insulating concrete forms. To aid in demystifying ICF, every two
weeks DJ Ketelhut is hosting an online webinar introducing
insulating concrete forms.
"The goal of these webinars is
really education" says DJ, Quad-Lock's Eastern North America
Sales Director. "There is a lot of mis-information out there. Really all we are trying to do
is be helpful to people who are interested in this building
technology - if it helps sell Quad-Lock, that's great; but the
real benefit is boosting the ICF industry."
During these 1-hour presentations, attendees will gain:
A basic understanding of ICF
An understanding of the types of
structures you can build with ICF
Knowledge to make a more
informed buying decision
Insight into the Quad-Lock difference
Reserve your seat in
one of these upcoming webinars.
New Project Summary
Kalamath Millshops in Denver, Colorado
was a challenging 2-story, multi-use project. Transitioning from
a 12" wide 3' tall footing to a 6" wide brick-faced wall that
rises 2 stories was easy compared to the orchestration of
materials and crews in an incredibly compact site.
Read the summary on this project. If you
have any further questions about this project, you can
John Hatfield, Regional Sales Manager for the Rocky Mountain
Ten Best Green Jobs
Fast Company recently released an article describing the 10 best
green jobs for the next decade. No surprise that Energy
Efficient Builders came in at number 4! Here's what they said:
Buildings account for up to 48 percent of US energy use and
greenhouse gas emissions. LEED, the major green building
certification, has over 43,000 accredited professionals. But the
cutting edge in efficient buildings goes far beyond LEED.
Buildings constructed according to Passivhaus and MINERGIE-P
standards in Germany and Switzerland, respectively, use between
75% and 95% less heat energy than a similar building constructed
to the latest codes in the US. Greening the US building stock
will take not only skilled architects and engineers, but a
workforce of retrofitters who can use products to massively
improve the R-Value (thermal resistance) of the draftiest old
houses. A study by the Apollo Alliance recommended an $89.9
billion investment in financing to create 827,260 jobs in green
buildings -- an initiative supported by the Obama stimulus
package, which specifically mentions energy retrofits.
January is National Radon Action Month
The EPA has declared January National
Radon Action Month.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America
and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found
in nearly all soils. It typically moves up into the home through
cracks and other holes in the foundation and it can be present
in any home.
Unaware of the dangers, many homebuyers skip the radon test.
Few know about radon-resistant measures, which can be installed
for very little extra money or effort. With those measures
already in place, homeowners can test for radon a month or two
after they move in, when elevated radon levels would be
detectable. If unsafe levels exist, the radon can be easily and
Glen Salas has written an in-depth article: 'What Home
Builders Should Know About Radon', which is available on the
What's So Green About ICFs?
Whether it is from the point of view of design or construction in
the field, there is little doubt in any of our minds that green building
designs are a part of our future in the building industry. Because they
offer so many advantages, insulating concrete forms are increasingly the
logical choice for any sustainable building envelope design. But why?
What is so green about ICFs?
As long as you are involved with ICFs you will be called on to answer
this question, so we would like to bring to you a series of short,
easy-to-use explanations to help you educate customers and colleagues.
This first article starts with the 'big daddy': energy conservation...
Energy Conservation & Carbon Footprint Reduction
Life Cycle of the Building: When a life cycle analysis is done
for a built structure, the sum total of the energy consumed over its
entire lifespan, from resource extraction to construction, through the
operational lifespan and to the building's eventual decommissioning and
disposal is measured. The resulting amount of carbon released into the
atmosphere can then be calculated, along with waste destined for
landfills. The fact is the operational phase, or that time when the
building is occupied, is when it generates the most carbon emissions.
Typically, the building's occupants are using huge amounts of energy to
heat, cool, light and operate the building (whether commercial or
residential). In fact, 90% of the total energy consumed by a building
during its life cycle is during this operational phase.
The Short Answer - Conduction & Convection: The key to saving
energy and therefore carbon emissions, is to maximize the performance of
the building shell. By reducing thermal conduction through shell
components and by reducing the amount of uncontrolled air leakage
(convection) in and out of the building, you can minimize energy
Conduction: While second to uncontrolled air leakage,
conduction of heat through building shell components has a significant
effect on the energy efficiency of every building. This is where heat is
physically carried into or out of conditioned spaces by the building
components themselves. An example of this is a wood- or metal-framed
structure. The wood or metal framing elements that span across the wall
section have an R-Value of less than R-7 and provide what is termed a
'thermal bridge'; this transports heat in an undesirable manner. When
the surface area of such framing elements is calculated and added to the
surface area of window and door openings (R-Values usually less than
R-4), it becomes apparent that 30 - 50% of the building shell is below
the assumed R-Value of the insulation and is unavailable for insulation.
When the overall insulating capacity of the shell is considered, it
falls far short in its ability to resist thermal conduction.
An ICF structure, by its very nature, eliminates heat transfer via
conduction for two reasons. First, two continuous planes of high R-Value
insulation protect the structural component (reinforced concrete) from
the effects of the outside environment, hot or cold. Quad-Lock, with its
ability to unbalance the insulation to the exterior, offers the best
protection from the elements. In laboratory tests of Quad-Lock's R-30
configuration, it took 11 days for opposing sides of the wall to become
equal in temperature. According to the testing staff, a framed
structure, wood or metal, would take a matter of hours to equalize. The
high mass of the concrete takes a large amount of energy to heat or cool
the mass and the result is a 'buffering' effect by the concrete against
swings in outside temperature. This is commonly known as the 'thermal
mass effect'. The insulation that remains in place from ICFs further
reduces the amount of energy available to raise or lower the temperature
of the concrete structure, particularly when thicker insulation is
placed on the outside of the building.
Convection: Experts agree that the greatest enemy of building
energy efficiency is the uncontrolled flow of air into, or out of,
conditioned spaces. Blower-door testing shows older framed structures to
be leaky enough to allow a complete change of interior air between 12
and 14 times per hour (air changes per hour - ACH). Even newer
'code-built' structures will leak air at a rate of 3 - 4 ACH. ICF
buildings by comparison, show air leakage rates of 0.5 - 1.5 ACH in
identical testing. Again, by their very nature, ICF buildings control
air leakage because of the density of the concrete which is placed in
liquid form and later becomes a solid. Therefore, no spaces remain in
the wall to permit air flow when concrete is properly placed and
Most air leakage in ICF buildings is detected around window and door
openings and at the junction of walls and roofs. Sealing measures are
easy to implement in these locations. A recent test in Canada,
established that air leakage assumptions in buildings with ICF walls
could be reduced by over 60% when calculating the required heating and
air handling equipment. Lower rates of uncontrolled air leakage will
reduce the size and cost of equipment at the time of installation and
dramatically reduce the building's appetite for energy during operation.
There it is, the secret to ICFs revealed! Whether a client is just
trying to lower his or her heating/cooling bills, or whether an
architect is designing to a LEED standard in a public building, ICFs
offer real and immediate solutions to the problem of constructing an
energy efficient building shell. Because energy usage has such an
enormous impact on the environment, energy efficiency is the main area
of focus of every sustainable building program.
* Source: Portland Cement Association
Next Issue: Find out the impact ICFs and concrete can have
on how much material it takes to build a structure and how that plays
into green building standards.
Happy New Year to everyone! It is amazing to see how fast a year can
go by and I am sure many of you are happy to put 2008 in the past and
focus on a new start for 2009. If you have been in the building business
for any amount of time, the New Year ushers in the season of builder
shows aimed at contractors, residential and commercial builders,
developers and more.
We are excited to be involved in trade shows on a local level where
we support our distribution partners, as well as international and
national shows where we take the lead in exhibiting. These events are a
great opportunity to meet people, conduct research, compare technologies
and see what's new in the marketplace.
Are you in the group of people who have never attended a
building-related show? Well, I must say you are missing out. Trade shows
offer attendees a chance to engage building material suppliers in a
non-threatening environment. Many of the shows are large, so we strongly
suggest that you map out who you want to visit to ensure that you see
all the products and technologies that are important to you. I trust a
visit to the Quad-Lock booth will be at the top of the list though!
If you want to learn more about Quad-Lock and the benefits ICFs can
provide, I encourage you to visit us at one of the shows listed below -
or check out our website too as this list will be updated as we continue
to confirm our trade show schedule.
This year, you will get an opportunity to see some of our impressive
displays showing various details for both commercial and residential
construction. Our professional staff will be ready to answer your
questions regarding your project and you will be able to see all of our
products displayed including Quad-Lock, Quad-Deck and R-ETRO. And, I am
excited to announce that our booth has undergone a major makeover - it
will be worth the visit. We look forward to seeing you at the shows, you
will not be disappointed!
Sales Director, Eastern North America
If you can't make it to one of these events, be sure to sign up
for one of our webinars. Information on these can be found on the
As ICF becomes a more prevalent building system, North American
dealers and installers of Quad-Lock ICF need to extend their knowledge
of building techniques to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). In order to prepare for the upcoming inspection
and enforcement by OSHA, this and future articles will discuss various
compliance issues facing the ICF industry.
Safety By The Numbers...
The impetus for recent safety articles has been OSHA safety reviews
and OSHA publications relating on-the-job injury statistics. According
to OSHA's data gathered between October 2007 and September 2008, there
are many areas of exposure that could easily affect ICF installers. The
top five safety issues on construction jobsites are:
1) Scaffolding Citations - 7,428 violations were found on
2,892 construction sites (that is 2.57 violations per jobsite!) with
combined fines totaling $7,164,733, or an average of $964 per violation.
2) Fall Protection Citations - 4,729 violations on 4,364
sites, totaling $6,889,189 in fines at an average of $1,456 each.
3) Ladder Citations - 1,541 sites were found to have 2,046
violations. Fines averaging $616 each totaled $1,260,456.
4) Fall Protection Training - 1,638 violations on 1,557 sites
produced $566 average fines, totaling $928,505.
5) Manually Moved Ladders & Scaffolds - 1,587 violations and
fines of $1,390,818.
By far, the number one violation cited is scaffolding, but the number
one inspection item covers fall protection equipment and
training. In other words, OSHA inspectors look for fall protection
equipment and fall protection training more often than any other safety
All five major violation areas could easily be present at ICF
jobsites if care is not taken to consistently evaluate compliance with
OSHA regulations. The sizable financial impact of violation fines
obviously affects the economic health of the contractor, as would the
high likelihood of injury to his employees if such violations are left
uncorrected. Whether or not OSHA inspectors actually come onto your
jobsite, the potential for financial and physical damages is significant
when safety issues are neglected.
OSHA estimates that only about 50% of jobsite accidents get reported
to the local authority and less than 10% are reported as lost work
accidents. OSHA's data shows the next five categories in the "Top 10
List" of violations cover general safety, hazard communication or
signage, head protection, training on ladders and scaffolds and
electrical wiring. Obviously, all of these areas could also easily
pertain to ICF jobsites.
So, what's the bottom-line on OSHA violations? According to their own
statistics, when OSHA comes knocking, you'll probably get cited with
three violations, each one costing over $880 or a total of $2,650. That
$2,650 comes right of the PROFIT in your construction project budget!
The 'bonus' to being cited is that your jobsite is likely to be
re-inspected on a more regular basis for quite some time, raising the
probability that additional fines will be levied. The lesson here is
"handle safety issues BEFORE they become safety problems"!
So, as Red Green would say, "If the inspector doesn't find you
handsome, he'll at least find you... SAFE!" Don't get hurt out there!
Future ideas on tool safety, ladders and scaffold
placement, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and concrete placement
will follow in upcoming months. If you have any topics that you would
like to see covered, please
Proven Energy Efficiencies
part of our on-going development of materials to assist in the sale of
Quad-Lock, we want to create a library of statistics about structures
built with Quad-Lock Insulating Concrete Forms. You can help us by
submitting your energy bills, along with the bills from a comparable
house in your neighborhood for us to add to our library. When you do
this Quad-Lock will pay your highest month's
energy bill for your troubles.
Contact us for more information.