A feasibility study on the applicability of icf construction for residential developments  

Patrick Cojocaru

Test Methods
Life Cycle Analysis
DEAP Analysis

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Sameer Mehra
Jim Roche

Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of energy related GHG emissions1. For this reason, a more viable option of construction is required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

This study was carried out to test the feasbility and sustainability of insulated concrete formwork (ICF) construction for residential . ICF is a building system with a growing popularity in Ireland that may be a solution to achieving the new nearly zero energy building (NZEB) standards2 in an easier manner when compared to traditional building methods. This study goes through the life cycle assessment (LCA) and dwelling energy assessment procedure (DEAP) processes and results throughout each building system with regards to a 3D Revit model of a case study. The research suggests minor discrepencies between the systems when compared by an LCA and a DEAP analysis. 

The focus of this dissertation is to investigate the feasibility of ICF construction in an Irish residential context by means of comparative studies. By modelling a case study of a semi-detached dwelling of ICF construction in Revit and substituting the ICF wall elements with timber frame and masonry construction, three design options were obtained in order to carry out comparative analyses. Using these Revit models, LCA software, Tally, was used to give results of the life cycle of any given material based on several impact categories. A DEAP analysis was then carried out for each design option, calculating the energy performance coefficient (EPC), the carbon performance coefficient (CPC), and the renewables coefficient.

Ultimately, there was no clear indication as to which design option would be a better choice in construction when compared by an LCA and a DEAP analysis. While the ICF case study may have outperformed both design options with regards to three impact categories, it had been outperformed by the timber frame with regards, for two, and equalled performance with masonry for one. Further studies regarding various different factors may have to be conducted to solidify an answer as to which of the three building systems would be a better choice. In terms of the feasibility of ICF construction for residential developments, it is safe to conclude that ICF is feasible as it has very similar results in terms of LCAs.