Marc ICF

MARC ICF Properties

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of further generations to meet their own needs.”

World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, 1987

The main benefits of Marc ICF that it is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than standard masonry or timber frame.

There are 3 elements which make up for a sustainable development: the economic, the environmental and the social. Sustainable development is about finding a balance between these three and considering them at the same time at every stage of the project.

Sustainability decisions must consider the lifetime of a building and not just the initial impacts.

So how is ICF sustainable?

Embodied Energy

Concrete, a major element of ICF constructions, hasn’t traditionally faired that well in ‘Eco’ terms because of the high amount of energy needed to produce cement. However, recent developments in concrete technology has changed this, for example, a typical structural concrete mix using 50% ground granulated blast-furnace slag as a cement replacement now has embodied CO2 in the order of just 12% of what would have been the original 100% cement figure.

Similarly, expanded polystyrene (EPS), a natural by-product of the petroleum refining process and the other major element of ICF construction, when used for insulation purposes will recoup the CO2 generated during its production within the first few weeks of the building's operation, simply by reducing occupant heating/cooling demands. EPS is also HCFC and CFC free.

But as mentioned earlier, sustainability decisions must consider the lifetime of a building and not just the initial impacts. In Ireland, 10% of the CO2 emissions come from the construction of the built environment. But a massive 50% comes from actually using the buildings, 27% of which is residential use.

And this is where ICF construction really comes into its own, both in terms of its durability and its energy-efficiency, proving that it is a truly sustainable modern method of construction (MMC). The operating savings in energy and thus carbon emissions easily outweigh the initially higher carbon input used in the construction of Marc ICF and the system will continue to perform for decades to come.

Lifetime Savings

The following points are considered as key aspects to consider when developing sustainable construction:

  • Thermal Mass
  • Durability
  • Fire resistance
  • Acoustic performance
  • Flood resistance
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Air tightness

The manner in which polystyrene and concrete are combined in Marc ICF construction provides outstanding performance levels for each of these key points.

Energy Savings

1. Insulation

Marc ICF provides a high level of thermal insulation with a U-Value of 0,22 or 0,11 W/m²K being achievable. By definition, the insulation envelope of the building is absolutely complete when building with Marc ICF, in contrast to all other building system which require manual site intervention to install the thermal insulation after the structure is built. In addition, there is no convection loss of heat within the wall as the insulation is in intimate contact with the structure.

2. Thermal Mass

Concrete construction naturally has a high thermal mass, which is the ability of a material to store excess heat energy during the day. This heat energy is then released back into the building at night as it begins to cool. The strength of an ICF construction allows for concrete elements to be used internally throughout, including all floors and internal walls, maximizing the thermal mass available.

3. Air-tightness

Current Building Regulations set standards for the air tightness of structures, measured using an Air Permeability Rating. A number of 10 is the required minimum with 7 being described as best practice and 3 being required for passive homes.
Because this is a poured concrete method of construction, the structure is effectively monolithic, thus air-leakage is reduced to an absolute minimum. Marc ICF is extremely airtight, with a typical structure experiencing an air permeability rating of 3 or less.

These three factors combine to produce an extraordinary thermal performance in the finished house.

A Marc ICF structure is built to last.

Concrete is inherently durable, and when cast within Marc ICF, it cures without suffering exposure to extreme temperature variances. This results in a far higher strength of set initially, but the insulation provided by the polystyrene also permanently reduces the stress on the concrete caused by thermal expansion and contraction, enhancing its lifetime well beyond standard masonry construction.

Fire Resistance

Concrete construction is extremely resilient to fire damage. Marc ICF walls have certified fire-performance ratings of up to 3 hours. In addition the EPS used in the manufacture of Marc ICF is flame retardant and both the internal and external finishing systems are certified Class A, inflammable. This means that an Marc ICF is extremely safe and resilient in the event of a fire

Sound Insulation

The mass of the concrete within the Marc ICF makes for amazing sound absorption with typical sound reduction of 52 dB across the finished wall. This is far in excess of the requirements of the building regulations and makes for comfortable homes and harmonious relations with the neighbors!

Flood Resistance

ICF construction is extremely resilient to flood damage as neither concrete nor expanded polystyrene, rot or suffer from water damage. The monolithic structure is much better at resisting water ingress and can even be made waterproof for applications such as basements and swimming pools.


The physical and chemical stability of both concrete and EPS in an ICF building means there is practically no maintenance required to the structure at all.


The inherent strength of the solid concrete core makes an Marc ICF structure safe and secure. This can be further enhanced by reinforcing the concrete where necessary.


At the end of the building’s - very long! - life, all of the components of Marc ICF can be recycled and beneficially reused in other construction and related applications.

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graphite polystyrene - Builder's benefits

  • Easier handling due to weight advantages
  • Dust-free and rapid laying
  • Weather-independent construction
  • No skin-irritating effects
  • Easier transportation due to weight reduction.

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MARC partners

Get in touch with one of our partners wherever in Europe!

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High - class insulation

The insulation envelope of the building is complete when building with Marc ICF, in contrast to all other building system which require manual site intervention to install the thermal insulation after the structure is built.

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