Concrete homes: Welcome to the pour house
Times Union, Albany, NY February 5, 2012
If you’re thinking bunker, think again. Poured concrete homes, like those assembled by Arxx, use insulated concrete forms (ICF) and concrete to form homes that are energy-efficient, fire resistant, and able to withstand hurricane-force winds, and these Lego-like forms are flexible enough that you can accomplish 99.9 percent of the designs on the market today.
“Everything looks the same from the outside, it looks no different from any typical home, but on the inside, you’re going to notice how quiet and comfortable it is,” says Jefrey Martusewicz, president of Seaway Wall Distributing, Inc. in Alexandria Bay, the area’s representative for Arxx. Concrete’s thermal mass keeps internal temperatures stable with less help from heating and cooling systems, and the density keeps sound out too, making your concrete home a safe, energy-efficient enclave.
Homes built using the Arxx system are laid out first by stacking insulated foam forms, which are filled with concrete for a solid and sound-resistant structure. The foam form is left on for added insulation.
FORMS AND FUNCTION
Times Union, Albany, New York February 2, 2011
Arxx’s system makes for an easier build – and a quieter, sturdier and greener home
Poured concrete – with its durability, solid insulation factor and quick ease of installation – has been a solid mainstay of structural foundations. But now an ingenious construction method is making that process faster, and even applying it to above-ground walls of buildings, and even refining concrete’s stark origins into oppulent, and sturdy, homes.
Arxx’s Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) have been used in more than 130 million square feet of walls so far, in offices, hotels, churches, schools, homes and other structures. At this year’s Home Show, area representative Seaway Wall Distributing Inc. of Alexandria Bay, NY will be displaying and discussing the Arxx building system, a unique method which claims to be sturdier, safer and more healthful than conventional building methods.
Arxx’s systems features rigid, hollow Styrofoam forms that fit together like blocks – think of your children’s Legos on a much larger scale. But this isn’t kids’ stuff. Once the Arxx forms are fit together to form the walls of the structure, the forms are then filled with concrete.
The block units themselves – each around 48 inches long by 16 inches high, ranging in thickness from 4 to 10 inches – are designed to be fit together quickly, saving on labor and, of course, increasingly expensive lumber.
According to Seaway president Jeff Martusewicz, this makes for a home that is stronger, better insulated, more resistant to fire – and even quieter and more healthy than conventionally framed homes.
Once the concrete cures, the foam shell – which contains 47 percent recycled content – is left on. The result is a solid concrete structure with built-in Styrofoam insulation, on which any type of siding can be applied. The Styrofoam sides can have furring strips to nail sheetrock to, or channelled grooves to accomodate wiring. Seaway claims that Arxx has an effective insulation rating of up to R-50, and can save 70 percent on heating and cooling costs. The thick concrete’s high 2-5 hour fireproof rating can save homeowners up to 22 percent on their insurance bill. And the solid walls can withstand winds of more than 200 mph. If those inside can hear it.
“The STC rating of 50 reduces outside noise to a whisper,” Martusewicz said.
The concept has been around for decades in Europe, and it’s been catching on in the U.S. “The market is 90 percent residential” right now, Martusewicz said. “For the consumer, the product will repay them for their insight. If you’re going to save 50-70 percent off your heating, it won’t take long to recoup your investment.”
It’s already been used on hundreds of projects in New York state, from residential homes to commercial structures such as show rooms, retail stores, hotels and schools.
Seaway has built raised ranches, retail stores, a firehouse, a Holiday Inn in Clifton Park, a 120-unit hotel, an apartment complex and a 38,000-square-foot car dealership using the Arxx system.
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Receives Sustainable Leadership Award for East Parkside Revitalization
Arxx ICF Energy-Saving Products Singled Out for Enabling Affordable
Philadelphia, PA, October 15, 2009 – The Portland Cement Association (PCA) today presented Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter with the prestigious Sustainable Leadership Award, at the BuildGreen 2009 conference. Arxx Corporation shared the stage, in recognition of the leading role the Arxx energy-saving ICF products had in enabling Philadelphia to meet its environmental and economic goals.
The award recognizes sustainable building practices to provide environmental and cost-saving benefits for their communities. Philadelphia is the largest city honored in the awards this year.
Energy Savings Led by Use of Arxx ICF
The first project supported by Mayor Nutter was 7 three-story units built by Habitat for Humanity, to begin a green, affordable housing renaissance in the historic East Parkside neighborhood.
The project team set – and met – goals of: attaining the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, with dramatic reductions in energy use; a tangible demonstration of affordable housing solutions; and the practicality of building green.
Arxx ICF products (Insulating Concrete Forms) were chosen to build the foundation and walls. The Arxx building system demonstrated greater energy savings, more occupant comfort and quiet, greater strength and durability, and a faster build, than conventional wood frame construction, or newer techniques like SIPs.
The January 2009 utility bill for one of the families was just $50. Along with other efficiency measures, homeowners are seeing a 65 percent reduction in total utility costs.
Moving to Mainstream Use of Energy-Saving Practices
According to Mayor Nutter: ‘This project proved you can be green and save money. Arxx was an important part of that.’
Arxx was brought to the attention of the project team by BASF, the multi-billion dollar chemical company. BASF makes Styropor expandable polystyrene insulation; a Cradle-to-Cradle Silver environmentally certified product used as part of the Arxx ICF products. BASF has referred Arxx for use in multiple additional projects, including the Paterson Near Zero Energy Home and the namesake BASF Rensselaer Education Center, designed to meet the highest LEED Platinum standards.
‘This project shows how we can redefine building’, said Gael Mourant, CEO of Arxx. ‘Smart green building practices save energy and put money back in the pockets of homeowners and business owners. At the same time we all help the environment. We will eagerly continue to assist cities as the revitalize their homes and office buildings to new standards of energy efficiency and sustainable development.’
About Arxx Corporation
Arxx is the leading supplier of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) for green, energy-efficient residential and commercial construction. Arxx products have been used in over 100,000 projects, representing 130 million square feet of walls and foundations, with over 35,000 trained installers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Arxx ICF products enable significant energy savings, greater comfort, security and quiet, and a faster build than conventional construction. Arxx products have been used in numerous LEED-certified projects, including Pennsylvania’s first LEED Gold School, California’s first LEED Certified school, and the LEED Gold Frieze Harley-Davidson dealership in O’Fallon, Illinois. Arxx projects have received major industry and sustainability awards including the USGBC Leadership Award. See www.arxx.com for more information.
Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at www.cement.org.
Go Green with Arxx Building Products
Malone Telegram March 26, 2009
ALEXANDRIA BAY – Arxx Building Products recently announced a merger with a multiple of companies to lead the way in the development of innovative green building systems. The mergers create an unrivalled offering in the sustainable building market.
Arxx is made from 47 percent recycled materials.
“Using the Arxx Wallsystem is just a smarter way to build, often being 40-50% more energy efficient, features better indoor air quality and are stronger to endure storms, and its a cost effective” said Jefrey Martusewicz, president of Seaway Wall Distributing. A supplier to about 40 dealers in New York State, “Arxx Corporation saw a substantial growth even though we are in a building down turn says it all”. “Now with Arxx turning its efforts more green just adds to our momentum”.
Arxx Insulating concrete forms are easy to install. They consist of two expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels connected by a polypropylene web. The forms are stacked on the job site, reinforced with rebar, then concrete is poured into the forms, creating an insulated, monolithic, concrete wall.
The result is a wallsystem that is highly energy efficient. Unlike wood construction, there are no cavities or gaps where molds can proliferate and the airtight construction enhances indoor air quality and reduces sound.
The strength of the concrete walls makes them very popular in hazardous weather areas. Arxx meets major building code specifications is UL listed with 2-4 hour fire ratings. These qualities add up to a safer, stronger, more energy-smart building.
Arxx ICFs build sustainable foundations for every project – whatever design, shape, height or size – including theaters and auditoriums, schools, gymnasiums, condominiums, retail spaces, hotels and inns, wineries, office buildings, banks, retirement homes, healthcare facilities and places of worship, or your home.
Building with Arxx Building Products makes it easier to construct Energy Star homes, achieve LEED points for commercial and residential construction. “Its a greener way to build for energy conscious architects and builders, it saves labor hours and requires no special installation skills,” said Martusewicz. “For homeowners, they’re literally breathing easier with better air quality, reduced energy bills and fire safety,” he added.
For more information or a Dealer near you, you can find Arxx on the web: www.arxx.net or you can call: 315-482-5253.
Arxx ICF Green Build System Targets New Industry Growth
Arxx Building Products recently announced a merger with Apex Construction Systems to lead the way in the development of innovative green building systems in North America. The merger creates an unrivaled offering in the sustainable building market.
Buffalo News February 14, 2008
“Using the Arxx green build system for walls and foundations is just a smarter way to build, ” said Jefrey Martusewicz, president of Seaway Wall Distributing, a supplier to about 40 dealers in New York State. “The result is 40 to 50 percent more energy efficient construction with buildings that feature better indoor air quality, are stronger for enduring storms and are cost effective long term. Our company saw a substantial growth in our sales of Arxx walls and foundations even though we are in a building downturn. Our customers are recognizing the importance of sustainable building and now with Arxx providing the green build system, this just adds to our momentum.”
Arxx Insulating concrete forms are easy to install. They consist of two expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels connected by a polypropylene web. The forms are stacked on the jobsite, reinforced with rebar, then concrete is poured into the forms, creating an insulated, monolithic concrete wall. The result is a wall system that has a high energy efficiency. Unlike wood construction, there are no cavities or gaps where molds can proliferate. The airtight construction enhances indoor air quality and reduces sound while the strength of the concrete walls makes them very popular in hazardous weather areas. Arxx ICF meets major building code specifications and has a UL listed 2-4-hour fire rating. These qualities add up to a safer, stronger, more energy smart building.
Building with Arxx makes it easier to construct Energy Star homes as well as achieve LEED points for commercial and residential construction. “It’s a greener way to build for energy conscious architects and builders,” said Martusewicz. “It saves labor hours, requires no special installation skills and for homeowners it’s great; they’re literally breathing easier with better air quality, reduced energy bills and fire safety.”
Energy-Efficient Building-Block System Take Off
By Andrea Pedrick, Absolutely Business, June 2006
An innovative building-block system of construction can help save on energy and repair costs by providing increased insulation and preventing the condensation that breeds mold.
There are currently close to 12,000 construction projects in New York built out of materials that can cut your heating and cooling bills and even your labor costs in half. The projects range in size from a residential home to a large vehicle maintenance center and all were built with Arxx Building Products.
“It is such a simple concept” says Jefrey Martusewicz, President of Seaway Wall Distributing, Inc. “It is (like) a Lego block that you can actually use to build a real structure. Once you put the block down you have already insulated. You also have a nail strip every eight inches and sheathing. You are doing so many steps in one motion, basically this cuts your labor in half,” says Martusewicz. Other advantages he cites include the ability to build year round, the structure has an R-50 insulation rating, it can withstand 200 mile per hour winds, and is slow to burn. Additionally, for businesses concerned about acoustics or ambient sound, Arxx carries an STC rating of 50; lawn maintenance or low flying planes won’t drown out your meetings.
Martusewicz introduced the interlocking block concept to New York State 14 years ago. It is a system that amusingly reminds anyone who sees it of the famous Lego building block toys. What also makes this system unique is the fact that the foam block is not solid, it is a hollow mold with channeled groves for wiring and furring strips for drywall or other nailing purposes. When all the blocks are in place, concrete is poured giving it strength, making it airtight and adding to the insulating value. When finished and cured, any type of siding or cosmetic facade can be added. “At that time it was absolutely the best thing on the market, and it still is,” says Martusewicz.
Arxx distributors are found nationwide; Martusewicz concentrates his efforts in the state of New York. His efforts are paying off; his office is the number-one sales outlet for Arxx in the U.S., despite the difficulties of doing business in a rural area. Some might expect his office to e located near skyscrapers, Syracuse University; or a company the size of Kodak, instead, his home and office is located in Alexandria Bay, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. In early May, the Arxx national sales force met in the Albany area to discuss promotion efforts and to talk directly with Martusewicz to see what makes his marketing efforts so successful. Once they have the key to his success, the company hints it will use his business practices as a nationwide model.
They may only have to look at the Farmer’s Creed framed over his desk to find what they are looking for. Martusewicz is proud of his rural heritage and his large family. On the family farm he learned the importance of teamwork, and the satisfying feeling of a hard day’s work.
“Its your ethics that makes any business survive. My father was as honest as the day is long. He was very hard working,” says Martusewicz. “A man is only as good as his word. And I’ve based my whole business on that.” Staying true to his rural roots and his family, he established his business in Jefferson County when he could have gone anywhere else in the country. His work ethic came into play when he started his business in the early 1990’s. It was not uncommon for him to work 18 hours a day to get the word out on Arxx Building Products.
It helped that Martusewicz believes in the product and the simplicity of it; he says the user-friendly building block type system should be included in projects of all sizes and budgets. “There has been a misconception this is an expensive product but, truth be told, to build with this turnkey is zero to five percent more on the residential end. And the majority of the time on the commercial end it is actually cheaper because of the labor savings and the speed of the project.”
In this day and age of rising fuel costs, homeowners and business owners alike are looking for ways to heat and cool their homes or businesses for less. Arxx Building Products sales are brisk because, Martusewicz says, they are proven to be successful in helping people see real energy savings because the seven and a half-pound building block has an effective insulation rating of R-50. In comparison, fiberglass insulation, also know as “batting”, which is commonly found in residential structures, is usually rated about R-13. Martusewicz says an R-50 structure is a huge thermal mass that holds heat and cold.
A Ford vehicle dealer saw a drastic improvement in his energy savings. The blocks were recently used to build a 38,000-square-foot maintenance center for Harold Nye Ford, in Oneida, N.Y. The car dealership tore down two very old buildings that were roughly 36,000-square-feet combined, to make room for the new facility. Since the new building went up, the company’s fuel usage is less than 1,000 gallons per month. The older, cinder block buildings were costing the car dealership in excess of 10,000 gallons per month.
“If you are in business and of you have got a commercial building that you pay utility costs on, that is a substantial part of your operating costs,” says Martusewicz. “If we can cut your operating costs in half – it makes us very attractive. We do it everyday.”
Commercial projects in the tri-county area include Gouverneur Savings and Loan Bank, Alexandria Bay; Costello Funeral Home, Alexandria Bay; and Car Freshener, Watertown. Other projects include a fire hall in Croghan, and churches in Boonville and Lowville. Martusewicz explains that the blocks are an attractive option to volunteers and parishioners who often do the work themselves so save the fire hall or church labor costs. A church project currently under construction across from the Watertown International Airport is an example of the work people can do themselves.
Even though Arxx homes can be found in virtually every local community, the concept is lesser known to the average customer. However, he says that is starting to change. “If you do your homework, you will build with Arxx walls and foundations, it just makes sense.”
Those that do their homework are learning that a home built this way is cleaner, safer and will save them money on their home insurance too, he says, adding that a basement built with Arxx Building Products is a finished basement that is going to be dryer, which eliminates any concern over mold or mildew because you will not have the condensation that sometimes occurs in conventional construction. In fact, the American Lung Association has anointed the company’s homes as “health homes” and, as one might expect, this endorsement has garnered Arxx attention from people with allergy and reaction problems. The structure also has a three-hour fire rating, which means it is a much safer home. “A lot of times the homeowner will save on their insurance bills due to the fire rating,” says Martusewicz. Homeowners also see a cost savings on fuel usage. A residential home in the range of 3,600- to 3,800-square-feet has been known to use less than 700 gallons of fuel.
Since 1992, he’s also seen a jump in the number of manufacturers that offer a similar product. When he opened his business there were six manufacturers, now there are 100. Martusewicz says what sets his company apart from the rest is the building-style block itself, and the customer support the company provides to individuals and businesses.
The Arxx block is fully assembled and the corporation holds the patent on a specialized nail strip that prevents sheet rock from popping or sagging. “We are also a full service company. We train right from the beginning – the contractors, homeowners, or whoever is building the project,” says Martusewicz. Training for architects and engineers is also available. The training is an AIA- (American Institute of Architects) accredited course.
In addition to training, the Arxx products can be found at 50 dealers statewide, including: Route 37 Lumber, Redwood; O.D. Greene Lumber, Adams; Adirondack True Value, Lowville; C. Hughes Hardware and Lumber, Boonville; Merriman Lumber, Norwood; and Watertown Building Supply, Watertown. More information on Arxx Products can be found at www.arxx.net.