Concrete construction and solar power are proving to be a potent combination. Near Chico, Calif., a home built with insulated concrete forms (ICF) and powered by solar panels might never have a utility bill, general contractor Steve Ferreira of Ferreira Construction says. The plan is to keep the Thomas/Van Der Meijden house entirely off the city power grid and generate all needed electricity.
“They work nicely together because ICF homes have high insulation values,” says Ferreira, “so the power requirements are probably a little bit less.”
ICF walls in the home have an R-38 rating, and the ceilings are R-50. In addition to the 20 photovoltaic electric panels installed on the garage, a rooftop wind turbine and a propane-fired backup generator also provide power.