A Better Way to Build

Nudura

Nudura has a better way to build. “Our product combines disaster resistance with energy efficiency and ease of build,” Nudura President and CEO Murray Snider explains. The company’s Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) system is increasingly replacing conventional building systems around the globe. In fact, the leading edge technology is “changing the way structures are built worldwide.”

Insulated Concrete Forms are a type of formwork for reinforced concrete. The components interlock without mortar, interlocking like Lego blocks, and are filled with concrete to create a stay-in-place form for the structural walls of many different types of buildings. Nudura’s building system has a number of significant advantages, but unfortunately, not everyone in the construction industry is fully aware of the value of Insulated Concrete Forms. “There are a lot of buildings built today with old technologies because some architects and engineers are not open minded to new, more efficient ways like an ICF,” Mr. Snider says. “They don’t recognize it yet. So it is our vision to educate the design professionals and the contractors out there so they see the value in it.” Once people have experienced the new concept, Mr. Snider adds, the satisfaction level is high. “We have never had a disappointed owner.”

Nudura’s Insulated Concrete Forms are ideal for a wide range of structures. “We do just about every type of building out there,” Mr. Snider explains, including high rises, hotels, schools, and hospitals. The company also does a lot of work for the U.S. military as well as a large number of residential projects. And, the company’ portfolio continues to expand. The reason is simple, Mr. Snider insists. “ICF is, in general, a better way to build.”

The company’s building system has great flexibility, so architects and builders can utilize the product regardless of the building’s design. “The product selection that we have has many, many different varieties, so when we are dealing with special design features from architectural firms – whether that be radius walls or curvatures, or radius windows – it is very achievable with this product,” Mr. Snider explains. “It is very easy to achieve whatever an architect wants.”

Insulated Concrete Forms are also remarkably easy to use. In fact, it simplifies the entire building process. “Our product is very user friendly,” Mr. Snider reports. “It combines three construction features into one, so we get the structure, we get the insulation, and the vapour barrier all in one shot. Whereas, when you are building conventionally, that requires three different trades generally.” And, once Insulated Concrete Forms are put in place, the rest of the construction process can be completed in the same way as with any conventionally built structure.

The innovative product also creates a stronger, safer structure than many conventional building methods. This is because the walls of a Nudura Insulated Concrete building are constructed with steel reinforced concrete and a non-toxic fire retardant expanded polystyrene foam. “The monolithic concrete poured wall is extremely sturdy, so you get a disaster resistant building,” Mr. Snider points out. As a result, a Nudura structure boasts a fire protection rating of up to four hours, as well as greater impact resistance overall. In fact, the solid concrete core within each Nudura wall makes them able to withstand winds of up to 402 kilometres per hour.

Because a Nudura Insulated Concrete Form structure is built to last, it is more likely to retain its value over the long term than a conventionally built structure, Mr. Snider points out. Furthermore, the reinforced concrete that Nudura utilizes is significantly more durable and requires much less maintenance than its wooden counterparts. Insulated Concrete Forms also create an extremely well insulated building. “The wall itself becomes virtually air tight because you have insulation on both sides of a solid monolithic concrete poured wall,” Mr. Snider explains. This creates a very effective sound barrier, keeping the structure’s interior pleasantly quiet. Mr. Snider also points out that air travels easily through a typical wood-framed wall, causing thermal bridging – the phenomenon that creates those uncomfortable cold air pockets inside a room. Insulated Concrete Forms prevent thermal bridging, dramatically decreasing drafts and cold spots. As a result, Nudura buildings are extremely energy efficient.

This energy efficiency makes the use of Nudura Insulated Concrete Forms an environmentally friendly building system. The technology dramatically reduces a building’s carbon footprint and can save building owners huge amounts of money in heating and cooling costs each year. “Based on real data, when we compare the heating and cooling costs of our average structure, you are going to save about 50 percent without even trying,” Mr. Snider explains. “If you put in a little bit of effort into the type of heating and cooling and size the units properly, you will find that you can get up to 70 percent savings.” Furthermore, because “you need very little heating and cooling to be able to manage that building, it makes it very cost effective to introduce geothermal and solar power.”

Nudura has, in fact, been responsible for several leading edge projects promoting energy efficiency. Most notably, the company was the first to produce a net zero school in the United States (please see sidebar for further details). “That was a lot of effort,” Mr. Snider recalls, of the Kentucky based building project. The team combined forces with leading architects and mechanical engineers to accomplish their goal and set a new standard for green buildings in North America. Since then, Nudura has gone on to build many more net zero schools across the United States. “We currently have one of the most energy efficient schools in the United States in operation,” Mr. Snider reports. “That’s a great help to a forward thinking architect and engineer,” he adds. “The fact that we have such a tight envelope, it gives them a lot of room to play, and it enables them to look at a lot of different aspects of the building process and the building features to be able to fine tune the operational costs.”

Nudura’s leading edge building system has already made waves throughout the industry, but the team continues to push for even better technologies. The company puts a tremendous focus on research and development to ensure that it continues to provide the market with the best, most forward thinking products possible. “R&D has always been a great focus of ours,” Mr. Snider remarks. “Our product [is something that] you can expand upon pretty freely. That is one of its advantages.” The team meets weekly to discuss each project that they are working on and to ensure that each project is being carried out in the most efficient way possible. Any challenges or problems are carefully discussed until the best solution is hashed out. “We try to keep moving forward,” Mr. Snider says.

And the team is moving forward in more ways than one. A major expansion is planned for 2014, which will see the company gain at least two new plants. Nudura is also actively expanding into the European and Middle Eastern markets. “We are continuing to grow all the time,” Mr. Snider shares. The company will also continue educating the construction industry about the benefits of Insulated Concrete Forms – and continue providing them with a better way to build.

September 25, 2017, 4:30 PM EDT

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