Basement Contractors' crews are trained in several insulated concrete systems, including Thermomass, ThermaEZE and E-MAXX, which are all used in conjunction with aluminum forms. Crews are also trained on all major brands of ICFs. Hancock looks at a project in the planning stages and decides which system will work best in the building situation.
"I like the Thermomass system when both sides of the wall are going to be exposed so they can be finished on the outside and inside. If there will be brick on the outside, a lot of times we'll use E-MAXX or ThermaEZE and just put foam on the outside of the wall. If there will be sheet rock on the inside and the owner wants a little more sound proofing, we put the foam on the inside and outside. So we use the product that most benefits the customer," he explains.
Hancock adds that his company also utilizes insulating concrete forms (ICFs) in situations where those products ease construction, such as a one-sided pour, against a bank or against another wall on a remodel.
When building for energy efficiency, Hancock looks at how to best take advantage of concrete's thermal properties. Basement Contractors of Oklahoma rarely insulates basement walls, whether it's under a wood frame house or an insulated above-grade concrete walls home. Hancock explains that in southern climates, like Oklahoma, there are more cooling degree days than heating degree days so homeowners benefit more often from utilizing the thermal mass of the 65 degree soil temperature against the basement walls.
"People always teach contractors to insulate the basement, but I really believe that if you look at the numbers it is more energy efficient to not insulate the basement in a southern climate. We insulate to where our temperatures are going to be the highest because the heat transfers from hot to cold. If it's 100 degrees outside, we want to insulate the outside and don't want that heat to transfer into the house. We insulate our walls to keep the heat from coming in but allow the warmer house temperature to leave through the uninsulated basement walls and into the ground."
In addition to energy efficient building, Basement Contractors of Oklahoma utilizes fly ash and blast slag mixes whenever possible, in order to create a green mix using industrial waste as a substitute for cement in the concrete mix.
A recent project for Basement Contractors is a good example of the company's foray into green building. The project is an 8,000-square-foot Greek Orthodox church in Norman, Okla., with insulated concrete walls and a walk-out basement. The project started out as an ICF build, but Hancock saw potential for the building as an insulated poured-wall project.
Hancock reengineered the building in order to convert the job from ICFs to insulated poured walls. "We ended up being more economical and energy efficient than insulating concrete forms would have been," Hancock says.
One of the attractive features of the poured-wall construction was by using Thermomass panels sandwiched inside the concrete walls, there was no worry of hail damage to the foam on the outside of the building. Other features of the church include stained concrete floors in the basement and main level, stucco exterior walls and plaster interior walls, and individual slots for bar joists which eliminated the need for a joist ledge and thicker basement walls that are necessary for that style of construction.
Basement Contractors has successfully shown the opportunities available with concrete. They built a basement market in a part of the country where basements were unheard of and offer thermal efficient buildings that save homeowners money.