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Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity using new building method to make home more energy efficient

The organization is building a home using Insulated Concrete Form. One benefit of the home is it helps reduce homeowners' utility bills.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity is using a different material to build one home to see if it helps the future homeowners save money.

Ryan Hanson, the construction manager at GDM Habitat said they will be using what is called Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) instead of building a home with a wood frame construction. 

The move is in partnership with National Ready Mix Concrete Association

GDM Habitat was one of 14 affiliates chosen from across the country to be included in the partnership and use their building material. 

Hanson said homes built using ICF start out as styrofoam blocks connected by metal.

Those are then cut into the desired shape and assembled. After that, concrete is poured in between the styrofoam to make the structure sturdy. 

He noted using this building style takes about the same amount of time as a wood frame construction does, but it has an added benefit: it will help homeowners save money on their utility bills because of the extra insulation. 

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"Others that were compared from a concrete house to a wood-framed home, the difference [between the two] was about 100 dollars a month in cost savings, Hanson said. "So, a concrete house is more efficient."

The organization added that anything to help make living more affordable for the family that will soon occupy the home is something they are all about.

"The importance of an efficient affordable home is that the families we are partnering with are able to come into these houses, not be able to [only] afford the homes themselves but the upkeep and the care and the utilities of the home," said Dylan Lyons, GDM Habitat's marketing director.

Once a family moves in, Habitat will monitor the family's utility bill compared to other homes of a similar size, to determine if it does help save money. 

If so, ICF could be used when building other homes.  

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