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Deliver Energy Efficiency

More and more homeowners and commercial projects want to reduce their energy bills – and are requiring that their build team deliver the higher-quality construction that can save them money.

ARXX projects save significantly on their heating and cooling costs compared to other approaches, which can mean thousands of dollars in savings each year. See our Project Gallery for examples. When you show your clients that you’re saving them money for the entire time they’ll own the building, you’re giving them another reason to choose you.

But every project is different. As the leader in this field, we believe it’s important to not over-simplify a building’s energy performance or exaggerate savings. That’s why we have extensive in-house building science expertise. Contact us so we can apply our expertise to your project. An ARXX professional can help you get a true understanding of the savings you’ll deliver to your client.

Why is ARXX so much better than simply adding more insulation to a cavity, or some external insulation? The combination of the insulated panels of the ARXX form, and the concrete, which acts as a mass wall and blocks air infiltration, provides superior, measured performance. With conventional construction methods, half of the air in the building needs to be re-heated or re-cooled every hour because of unwanted air infiltration. That is a key factor in determining whether a building can be energy efficient. An ARXX building has no unwanted air infiltration, so it can be highly energy efficient.

Energy Analysis

Energy studies* highlight the following key factors affecting energy efficiency achieved when ARXX ICFs are used:

  • Higher continuous R value. R value is a measure of thermal resistance calculated as the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux (heat flow per unit area) through it. The bigger the number, the better the building insulation's effectiveness. In conventional construction, the real R value of an installed wall will be the weighted average of all its components including the air gaps, namely - fiberglass batt (R13), wood studs (R-4.38 for a 2x4) air gaps (R0)1,4. By comparison, R value of ARXX ICFs is constant and performs on a continuously high R22 level. And R value is only part of the story - reduced air infiltration and added thermal mass play a big role in the energy loss reduction, as you could see from the chart below.
     
  • Reduced air infiltration. Infiltration could be described as the unintentional introduction of outside air into a building – also known as air leakage. Besides the obvious sources of infiltration such as cracks in the building envelope or through windows and doors, infiltration occurs through insulation gaps in the wall cavity and post-construction leakage due to the movement of the wood framing. Typically, each hour, half of the air in a conventionally constructed house is exchanged for outside air which needs to be heated or cooled1,4. Structures built with ARXX ICFs have an insulated concrete core which provides a tight air barrier, reducing the air infiltration and leaving you with fewer penetration sources, i.e. windows and doors, which are easy to identify and seal.
     
  • Added thermal mass. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like concrete, bricks and tiles. They are said to have high thermal mass, unlike lightweight materials such as timber with a low thermal mass. Appropriate use of thermal mass throughout a building can make a big difference to heating and cooling bills, as well as the comfort level. Thermal mass acts as a thermal battery. During summer it absorbs heat, keeping the house comfortable. In winter, the same thermal mass can store the heat from the sun or heaters to release it at night, helping the home stay warm. Correct use of thermal mass can delay heat flow through the building envelope by as much as 10 to 12 hours producing a warmer house at night in winter and a cooler house during the day in summer. Structures built with ARXX ICFs have an insulated concrete core with a high thermal mass. The benefits of the high thermal mass, such as heat absorption and thermal lag, are delaying transfer of heat to inside or outside of the building. It therefore moderates indoor temperature swings and reduces the amount of heating or cooling needed2,4,5.

Click here to download this information as a pdf document. 

* Please refer to the following energy studies and analytical material for a proof of exceptional energy performance recorded for Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) versus traditional constructed structures:

Featured Project

Hood River Middle School

The Hood River Middle School welcomed its newest addition, the innovative 5,131sq ft Music and Science building,  the first Energy Trust Path to Net-Zero project in Oregon,  - built using ARXX ICFs. The center boasts a LEED platinum certification, 101% CO2 Emissions Reduction and is the winner of the 2030 “Living Building Challenge” Design Award for AIA Portland 2010, raising the bar for sustainable design.

View full Opsis Architecture's HRMS 2010 Case Study report

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