Insultated Concrete Forms

New House Building: Money Saving, Convenience and Healthy House Tips

James Todd
November 2003

Beginning with the April 2002 edition, newsletters are now archived
online at:


1. Money Savings Tips- Cement Exterior Walls
2. Healthy House Building Tip: Furnace or HVAC Air Filters
3. Useful Links
4. Did you Know?
5. Subscription Information

Please forward this newsletter to anyone whom you think may be interested!

===================================================== 1. Money Saving Home Building Tips - Concrete Walls

Unless you are a new subscriber to our newsletter, you know that one of the objective of this publication is to bring you new, money saving ideas that can be used in your house building project. The tip that is highlighted in this month's newsletter is a novel one. Although I will provide you with some basic summary information, I have contacted an engineer involved with the building of homes that utilize this concept. He has agreed to write an article for this publication that will hopefully appear next month.

Concrete, long known for its strength and durability, is seeing life in an innovative form that joins the permanence of solid masonry with modern technology. Using concrete boards, rigid foam insulation, proprietary "methods and use" design and other basic method of formed concrete construction, one company is now producing a concrete residential structure for the production home market.

The idea or concept is to use concrete to construct exterior walls. A stay in place form is used to pour these walls. This means forms do not have to be removed, and in fact the forms become an integral part of the wall construction. Walls made in this way are no more expensive than stick built walls, but have the added benefit of being mold resistant, high wind resistant, fire resistant, rot resistant, insect proof, and are significantly more energy efficient than conventionally constructed walls. Year round energy savings from homes built using this construction method may range from 10-25% over conventional home designs. More information about this new building concept can be found at All Wall System



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Building a new house and being your OWN GC is not for most people.  But for the small subset of readers who do have the time and experience for such an undertaking we have some good news. The good news is in the form of a company called

2. Healthy House Building Tips - Air Filters
Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you clean, you can still see particles floating in a beam of sunlight coming in through a window?

This isn't just dust! It's made up of pollen, plant and mold spores, pet dander, lint, bacteria and other contaminants. Regular daily activities within the home, such as dusting, vacuuming, cooking and smoking, can increase particulate concentrations. And major home remodeling and renovation projects can introduce even higher levels of particles in the home!

These particles, measured in microns, range in size from fairly large to microscopic. To better understand the size of a micron, note that a human hair is about 70 microns in diameter. The tiniest particles - those smaller than 1 micron (1) - make up 99 percent of the particles in the air circulating within your home. Because the respiratory system's defense mechanisms (i.e. nose, sinuses and windpipe) are designed to filter out particles 3-5 microns in size, these tinier particles can be breathed deep into the lungs.

Breathing in these particles can have a negative impact on your health, ranging from irritation of the eyes and/or respiratory tissues to the potential of more serious long-term effects, such as decreased lung function and cancer. They can also trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks and infectious diseases.

One of the simplest, but most often overlooked ways to create a healthier home is to use good quality air filters. How many of you are still using the fiberglass panel filters in your home? If you do you are not only. An estimated 85% of households use these. These may provide some protection for your air handling system, but they provide little protection for you. Such fiberglass filters remove only about 2-5% of all the particles in the air.

In 1999 a new standard was adopted by which filters are to be rated for their efficiency in remover particulate matter from air. The new standard is known as the MERV standard or minimum efficiency reporting value. A MERV rating is a numerical value that can go as high as 20. To put things into perspective, the fiberglass filters mentioned above have a MERV rating that ranges from 1-4. In contrast:

>>>A MERV 10 rating corresponds to 50-65% removal efficiencies for particles       1-3 microns in diameter and greater than 85% for 3-10 micron particles.

>>>A MERV 13 rating corresponds to 75% removal efficiencies for particles 1-3       microns in diameter and greater than 90% for 3-10 micron particles.

>>>A MERV 15 rating corresponds to 85-95% removal efficiencies for particles       1-3 microns in diameter and greater than 90 % for 3-10 micron particles.

>>>A MERV rating of 16 is a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, and a       MERV rating of 20 is an ULPA (ultra low air penetration) filter.

For more information on this topic please go to the Health House Website found at

Want other useful healthy house building tips for your new home? Purchase the House N Home Building Guide today. It comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

Parts of this article were taken from the Healthy House website.
3. Related Links

The following are useful links relating to the housing industry and the topics covered in this newsletter and may be of interest.

Filters Now - An internet air filter supplier

American Lung Association, Health House

3M Filtere Air Filters


4. Did you know?

Did you know that Halloween was originally a Christian holiday. Halloween is a shortened version of All Hallows Eve, the eve or evening before the holy day. November 1, the day after Halloween is All Saints Day.

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