ICF – Insulated Concrete Forms – are a relatively new option for wall construction. They are hollow blocks (or panels) made of plastic foam, designed to be filled with concrete and to become part of the walls.
They provide the benefits of concrete construction, and are very simple to assemble.
The energy-performance of ICF walls and floors varies with the exact type of forms, and its features. ICFs are not all constructed the same, and prices vary significantly.
See: Insulated Concrete Forms Construction PricesICF are rigid plastic foam forms (blocks, panels and planks) especially designed for wall construction. They are intended not only to hold concrete in place during its curing but also to become the foam/insulating sections of the concrete walls. ICF forms are very lightweight, allowing an easy construction and smaller HVAC systems. They can provide good levels of insulation and huge resistance to extreme winds, mold and fire...
ICF construction is slightly more expensive than typical wood and steel frame construction, at least in regions where concrete construction is not common and builders and contractors aren't familiar with ICFs.
ICFs vary in the materials they are made from and in their thickness. They also vary in their interlocking grids and type of web, or in their recycled content and environmental impact.
ICF forms are an excellent wall construction method and an outstanding choice for hurricane and earthquake prone regions.
But there are other new choices like Structural Insulated Panels (a prefabricated product, made from engineered wood, with a thick core of insulation material); and the traditional wall construction methods.