Concrete products and applications contributed to the latest NextGen Demonstration Home in Las Vegas, making it a greener home. Although one of the biggest show homes designed at 5,200 square feet, the home is expected to be 95 percent more efficient than a standard home. Much of this efficiency is a direct result of the use of insulating concrete forms to frame the exterior walls.

“Home building systems like ICFs combine concrete’s traditional strength and durability with insulation systems,” Jim Niehoff, PCA director, low-rise building markets said. “The mass of concrete slows down the passage of heat moving through the wall, meaning that with the same amount of insulation, a concrete home stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than a wood frame home.”

An interior plaster finish applied directly to the ICF walls provided additional thermal protection and eliminated the need to use drywall. Exterior walls were also coated with Portland cement stucco.

The energy savings is just one benefit the NextGen project gained from ICFs. Concrete’s natural resistance to fire and its strength against earthquakes provided the attributes necessary to certify the house by the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s Fortified program. A Fortified home includes building options that protect the home against natural disasters mostly likely to occur in the region. The Las Vegas home was strengthened to withstand fire and earthquakes.

Additionally, the home’s driveway is paved with pervious concrete pavers that allow rainwater to filter through and re-charge the ground water supply.