At our new three-home development in Gig Harbor, Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is utilizing an innovative building technique: Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) with zero-carbon concrete. This system, rather than using wood and exterior sheathing, constructs the exterior shell of a home with 8″ wide concrete poured between forms made of 2 1/4” EPS panels. The panels are tied together through the concrete and stay in place, acting as the final wall insulation.
These homes will be the first zero-carbon Habitat for Humanity homes in the U.S., built using Solid Carbon’s concrete admixture, which diverts carbon from the waste stream to create an additive that pushes homes well into carbon-negative. This project represents another step by the concrete industry to achieve carbon neutrality, while also providing safe, affordable, and resilient housing for families and communities in need.
The benefits of ICF are varied and include creating both fire resistant and energy-efficient residences, as well as provide for a low-carbon construction footprint. But another important benefit to this innovative system is the noise dampening, thanks to the acoustical insulation properties of the EPS panels, as well as the thick concrete walls. As these homes are located adjacent to Hwy 16, noise pollution was a serious concern. The sound dampening properties provided with ICF construction made the trial of this new construction method well worth the shift from our standard building protocols.
Tacoma Habitat has welcomed Clark Construction (Bainbridge Island) as our general contractor partner for all three homes, bringing their extensive expertise in ICF construction to the project. Several National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) members and partners from the Build with Strength coalition have donated and/or provided discounted materials for this project, including Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, Quad-Lock, Heidelberg Materials, Airfoam Industries, Brundage Bone, Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association, American Concrete Pumpers Association, and Solid Carbon.
This project is part of a wider initiative between Build with Strength and Habitat for Humanity International to construct at least 50 sustainable concrete homes in 50 states in 5 years. The partnership currently has 76 homes in various stages of construction in 33 states in just under 2-½ years.
Due to the tight layout of the site and the narrow road into the neighborhood, this is a closed site with very limited volunteer opportunities. Rest assured, we will provide photos and videos along the way. Be sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss a thing—@TacomaHabitat on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.