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Initial cost is not long term cost for sustainable building solution

Supplier: Dolfi Benesh By: Douglas Bennion
10 April, 2012

When it's cold outside and you want your house to be warm without paying crazy bills, remember our system.

This week I came across a comment by a stock market analyst that really struck home. 

He was building a case for a small company, not based on its profitability or high dividend return, but on the unique quality of its technology and where it fits in today's markets. He saw this company positioning itself to service future demand which is being created today by steadily-increasing oil prices. 

I was fascinated by how his comments were so easily applied to Quad-Lock and ICF technology.  It was his characterisation of great innovations (and I would add great innovators) that intrigued me the most, summarised as follows:

Great innovations share 3 common traits:          

  1. They bring lower costs to consumers
  2. They create long-term value
  3. The completely shake the status quo

As an example, consider the microchip (the core of computer technology) that has cut the time (and cost) of data storage and processing to nanoseconds. Whole companies and industries have blossomed from this technology.  Old ways of running businesses have been completely eclipsed by this innovation.

If we place ICF technology under the light of this 3 part test, I suggest that we are a 100 per cent fit:

Lower consumer costs: 

Yes, we do lower costs to the consumer.  The energy-efficiency of (properly designed) ICF buildings cannot be disputed, as computer models, testing, and field analyses have shown.  This means that the operating cost for building owners is dramatically reduced for as long as they own the building. 

What's more, in addition to being insulated (in the literal sense) against weather today, the owner's wallet is insulated (figuratively) against a future of rising energy costs. 

We cannot allow the building industry to continue to focus strictly on the initial cost of buildings when the Total Cost of Ownership can be lowered dramatically from the adoption of ICF technology. We must learn to disprove the myth of "first-cost is all that matters".

Long term value: 

If there ever was a building material that improved the durability of built structures, it is reinforced concrete. 

We have multiple studies, charts, photos, and personal testimonies as to the disaster-resistance, survivability, and long service-life of concrete buildings, including ICF-built ones.

The wood industry counts on an illusion of permanence, which is rapidly being un-masked by building science. 

The service-life of an ICF/Concrete structure is measured in hundreds of years, not tens. Also, as mentioned above, the low "appetite for energy" of ICF buildings helps to ensure the structure's viability and preserves its market value in a future of rising energy costs without expensive upgrades.

Shake the status quo:

Every proponent of ICFs knows how the competition feels about us. 

Every day, we "suffer the slings and arrows" of competitors that stand to have even one of their projects won over by ICFs. However, our technology is now being validated by the best technicians of our day who clearly state the advantages of building and insulating the way ICFs do.  That endorsement comes at the increasing expense of the "status quo" who have billions invested in what can only be called outdated technology.

I have never been more pleased to be associated with such a bunch of "cut-against-the-grain" misfits like all of you who share my passion for ICF construction. 

Keep it up - never lose your passion - we will make our mark on the world. We are doing the right thing.