Coping with heat in construction: Building for efficiency

Stephanie Samuel / 06 July 2023

So far in our ‘Coping with heat in construction’ series, we’ve explored using sealing and bonding solutions in hot climates, avoiding floor failure in areas exposed to extreme temperatures, we’ve turned up the heat on fireproofing solutions and now, we look at building materials that are designed to keep the heat in and the cold out in summer and vice versa in winter!

If starting a project from scratch, considering the building materials that are used could greatly affect the efficiency, life cycle and sustainability of a construction.

Building for efficiency is a key part of the European Green Deal and there are many building materials out there that promote increased energy efficiency – specifically keeping the warm air in and cold air out in the winter months and keeping air-conditioned air in and warm air out in the summer months. One such material is Insulated Concrete Forms – or ICFs for short.

A benefit of using ICFs is that they offer superior performance when it comes to thermal bridging, resulting in even temperatures throughout the structure with reduced draughts, hot and cold spots, ensuring occupants are comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside.

Environmentally friendly

ICF building structures are sustainable green buildings that often qualify for LEED certification and will provide Passivhaus levels of insulation and airtightness. This allows architects, engineers, and designers to create buildings which are more efficient, sustainable and have a lasting value.

Did you know?

Some ICFs, such as those available from CPG Europe product brand Nudura, are made of EPS, which is 98% air, meaning it is 100% recyclable. Supported by the Building Research Establishment, EPS achieves environmental credentials A* - a much sought after rating of many construction products.

For constructions that are already built, there are building materials that can be added in order to achieve energy efficiency, as well as promote comfort inside the dwelling, regardless of the temperature outside. Find out more in the last post in this series, ‘Protecting constructions from the outside’.