Special concrete homes are popping up around central Virginia
An Original Article By Garrett Whitton
RUCKERSVILLE, Va (CBS19 News) — Special kinds of homes are becoming more common around town and in nearby counties.
It’s called insulated concrete form or ICF Homes.
ICF Homes’ president, Dave Phelps says it uses science to stay energy efficient, maintain high-quality interior air, and are safer when it comes to bad weather, all while keeping a cozy feel inside.
“The homes can handle an excess of 150 to 200 miles per hour wind without any problem at all,” he said. “That is well beyond anything that is Virginia building codes.”
Phelps says the homes use Earth’s natural energy to help heat and cool the inside.
“These houses are actually geothermal houses,” he said. “So, the footers are deep in the ground and stay a steady temperature, just like a geothermal heat pump does. But, the concrete core inside of it is in direct contact with the footer. That’s a direct thermo-conductivity, that’s a very steady earth temperature that radiates up the walls. So, in the summer months, these walls are cool relative to ambient air and in the winter months, these walls are warm relative to ambient air. So, you now have a house that passively heats and cools itself without the use of an external thermal heat pump.”
Costs vary Phelps says anywhere from $250 to $600 plus a square foot.
But, why are these houses being built?
“That’s a great question,” Phelps said. “We get asked that a lot and for me, there is a lot of reasons, but to kind of answer that question is: why are we still building houses out of wood? We built houses out of wood 200 years ago. There is far better product out there that is safer, more durable, and more sustainable. It’s available to us today.”
Although these homes may cost more upfront the savings are long-term.