The Apex Block made from recycled material
The Apex Block made from recycled material

Two recent projects demonstrate the versatility and growing use of insulating concrete forms (ICFs) in solving construction challenges.

Lafarge's work with Habitat For Humanity shows how ICFs can be used for low-income housing in New York City. In California, Arxx Walls & Foundations demonstrates how ICFs can be used in green building.

Lafarge donated 200 tons of cement to help build nine residential units in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was for the first residential use of ICFs in New York. Lafarge and Habitat got help from Greco Brothers, Tilcon, American Poly Steel, and the New York City Concrete Promotion Council. New York-based Vertical Construction was the general contractor.

“Our future homeowners will benefit by saving money on energy bills, by living in more comfortable green environments, and by having safer, stronger homes,” said Roland Lewis, executive director of Habitat for Humanity-New York City. The project includes three three-story buildings. It should be complete by the end of the year. Visit

In California, the Morgan Hill Unified Schools and the city of San Jose received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for building the Los Paseos elementary school, the first in the state to receive a LEED rating.

Weston Miles Architects Inc. specified ICFs for the exterior walls to obtain LEED points. The project received 29 points in six categories last February. The ICF walls are expected to cut energy costs by 25%. Visit

ICFs tout strength

Celblox ICFs feature a patented tri-fold design that lets the forms lie flat for shipping. The web runs full height for easier application of siding and drywall. The solid-bar tie system also helps eliminate voids in the concrete. Webs and ties are made from virgin polymer for superior fastener retention. Cellox LLC. 866-339-2569.

Spacers for flexibility

IntegraSpec ICFs come with slide-in web spacers that reduce shipping costs and provide easy concrete width adjustment. The web spacers slide easily into inserts molded into the inside face of each panel, 8 inches on center, and allow for simplified rebar placement. IntegraSpec ICF. 800-382-9102.

Make your own ICFs

The EPS Mini-Plant allows producers to make ICFs at their own facilities. It includes all peripheral equipment and sub-assemblies and uses local sources of water, electricity, and natural gas or diesel fuel. The plant can make ICF units for walls, floors, decks, and roofs. Lite-Form Technologies. 800-551-3313.

Joint clip links forms

The Vertical Joint Clip provides a simple but effective method of internally connecting a corner ICF unit to an adjacent standard unit. Available in two lengths, it slips over the shoulder of the last cross-connecting web in each form, and snaps in position over both webs. The VJC-S is designed to span from a hinge pin to a hinge pin, or between two standard forms. Nudura Corp. 866-468-6299.

ICF made from recycled materials

The Apex Block is a lightweight cement and foam block for building grid-type ICF walls. The block is made of 80% recycled poly-styrene and has a lab-tested thermal rating of R-52, which can cut energy cost by up to 70%. It also has a four-hour fire rating and is extremely quiet. Apex Construction Systems Inc. 800-252-8784.

ICF form reduces waste

The T-Form makes it easy to build interior demising walls while reducing material waste and labor costs. It's universal and reversible, and is constructed with two opposing panels of expanded polystyrene held together with polypropylene ties. Designed for use above and below grade, rebar can be placed in five areas within the wall. Reward Wall Systems. 800-468-6344.