Customers everywhere are building “green”. Architects are rushing to obtain LEED certification, municipalities are competing for the “greenest” downtowns, and consumers are demanding “greener” lifestyles.
Today’s concrete homes go beyond the standard concrete masonry known as ‘block’, and now include 3D Shotcrete panels and precast panels that are assembled onsite and poured-in-place insulating concrete forms known as ICFs. Concrete buildings create a barrier to the elements by lessening air entering from the outside, maximizing the effects of traditional insulation, and providing a thermal mass to maintain temperatures that greatly reduce the need for fossil fuel. The quietness of the interior is also appreciated by home owners.
Unlike standard wood-framed buildings, concrete buildings protect their occupants from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disastrous acts of nature due to their inherent strength and stability. Furthermore, concrete buildings are also protected from vermin, wood rot, and fire. Commonly, fire insurance rates are significantly lower for a concrete home. Even though concrete building systems have been around for a long time, many builders are not fully aware of their many outstanding characteristics. But popularity is growing, and the general public is becoming increasingly aware of the unique assets of concrete homes.
A home made of concrete is difficult to recognize immediately from its exterior because it may be finished in stucco, brick, wood or vinyl siding — just like a wood-framed building. Neither can it be recognized by its shape since concrete can create any shape or size home. Concrete is especially amenable to large open spaces to an extent greater than wood construction enabling the construction of large loft-like interiors. Also, concrete construction allows for greater diversity than wood especially with curves and angles. Style is never sacrificed, because concrete construction versatility is limitless. In sum, the strength and flexibility of concrete can create a home that looks either modern or traditional.
A beautiful concrete home does not burden the owner with costly upkeep. When designing today’s concrete home, smart builders are able to realize considerable savings by using concrete’s energy efficiency to justify smaller heating and air conditioning systems. Smaller heating and air conditioning bills occur throughout the life of the home. And when using brick facades or stucco or other exterior concrete texture finishes, painting is never required.
The carbon footprint of the concrete home is remarkably small, and the sustainability of its raw materials is extremely high. Concrete uses the earth’s most common and abundant minerals for its raw materials. In contrast to the amount of land used to cut down forests for lumber, the amount of land used to extract components of concrete is extremely small.
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