15) Comparative life cycle assessment of insulating concrete forms with traditional residential wall sections (USA)

Neethi Rajagopalan, Amy E.Landis, Melissa M.Bilec – University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

ABSTRACT: Sustainable building materials offer energy efficiency and environmental performance. One possible sustainable building product is insulating concrete forms (ICF). An ICF wall section consists of expanded polystyrene and concrete with polyethylene ties. One difference between a “normal” construction and ICF construction is that the forms stay in place after concrete has cured. The forms and concrete act as insulation material and have the potential for reducing energy consumption in buildings. The goal of this research is to conduct a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of the wall sections comprised of ICF and traditional wood-framed for the life cycle phases of raw materials, manufacturing, construction, use and end of life. Preliminary results comparing ICF and wood frame in the manufacturing phase for above grade construction are presented. To investigate the use phase, an energy modeling tool eQuest will be utilized, along with discussing the development of the LCA residential model.