Precast concrete walls are durable and energy efficient
The Kansas City Star, July 15, 2016
Homeowners thinking outside the traditional wood-framed residential box are pouring on the creativity when building houses with precast concrete walls.
Not only used in below-grade applications, concrete shows its durability and energy efficiency from the ground up in new home construction, says James Baty, executive director of the Concrete Foundations Association, based in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Foam insulation is layered in each precast form and acts as an impervious barrier to water and air. Precast concrete forms serve as a solid wall structure, and are bolted together for below-grade applications and multiple-story homes. When fit together according to architectural plans, the precast concrete walls create a tight building envelope, which wins awards for energy efficiency.
There’s a higher concentration of concrete homes in Europe, while concrete homes in North America can range from 15 percent to 25 percent more on front-end costs than traditional new construction that uses wood, Baty said. But we are finding that more people are considering building concrete homes in storm-prone coastal regions and in places where tornadoes are prevalent.
An energy-efficient home in Litchfield, Conn., constructed with Superior Walls precast concrete wall panels, was recently declared a winner in the state’s sixth annual Zero Energy Challenge. The residence, built by Revival Homes LLC of New Hartford, tied in the category for the home with the “lowest projected annual net operating cost.