Are Insulated Concrete Forms and Gigacrete panels good?


Are Insulated Concrete Forms and Gigacrete panels good?

Dallin Sumpter Feb. 21, 2019Last updated: Aug. 3, 2020

I want to build a house to passive house standards and keep it to a relatively small budget. I stumbled upon ICFs and Gigacrete while researching building materials, but haven't seen a lot of passive houses built with these materials. Is there a reason why? They seem to be a pretty efficient method of building houses, can be air tight without a lot of additional work, dont have thermal bridges, and they tend to have a hard time catching fire (important where I live). I'm looking for an educated opinion because I am such a rookie. 

Responses (5)

Herman van den Berg March 7, 2019, 9:08 p.m.

I'm aslo planning to build a house, not necessarily up to passive house standards, but as green as economically possible. For the exterior wall I'm giving strong consideration to using Nexcem wall forms. You may find technical details here: Here is a video of a builder describing how he used Nexcem wall forms: Note, Nexcem was recently known as Durisol, so you may find additional information online under that brand.

Robert James
Robert James March 28, 2019, 9:23 p.m.

I looked at Nexcem too but I found lots of comments in forums about the blocks when they were Durisol - apparently they can shatter easily unless they are handled very carefully and building with them looks like hard work! see Also, they wont get you above R22, which isn't helpful if you want a well insulated envelope... 

Robert Jones Nov. 9, 2019, 12:37 a.m.

A few years ago I built a very large home using Durisol.  We had more than 12,000  SF of Durisol walls and experienced none of the shattering problems you cite.  A  crew of five experienced masonry workers put up the walls in about 6 weeks.  We lived in the home for eleven years and it was a fantasically energy efficient home.

Dallin Sumpter March 11, 2019, 10:17 a.m.