Concrete is a responsible choice for sustainable development. Its durability is a significant sustainable attribute — it doesn’t rust, rot, or burn, meaning it requires less energy and resources over time. Additionally, concrete is easy to use, incurs little waste and is readily recycled.

Homes built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs) for above-grade walls are far more energy efficient, quieter and eliminate an environment for mold growth. Plus ICFs greatly reduce the number of trees harvested to build a home.

Also, Concrete pavements, compared to those built with asphalt, provide reflective surfaces that minimize the urban heat island effect.


Residential ICFs

When building a new home, don’t miss out on the many advantages of building with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) for the above grade exterior walls. Insulated concrete form homes are beautiful, energy efficient, and quiet.

Given that energy savings and comfort are built into every insulated concrete form system, it’s no secret that Minnesota and Wisconsin lead the nation with new construction incorporating ICFs into the above grade exterior walls:

  • Save up to 50%-80% in heating and cooling costs using ICFs for the above grade exterior walls (replacing the normal 2” X 6” wood frame construction
  • Experience the increased safety and security of a home that can withstand tornado winds up to 200 mph
  • Concrete homes provide a continuous insulation and sound barrier— you will rarely hear street or airport traffic as compared to wood-frame walls with fiberglass insulation
  • Easily eliminate the possibility of mold growth within the exterior walls

Over the past ten years we’ve committed considerable resources to work closely with the best ICF Concrete Home builders and installers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Thermomass Walls

Cemstone is proud to partner with Thermomass (T-Mass), the leader in cast-in-place insulated walls. Like ICF’s, T-Mass offers an insulated concrete wall only the insulation is sandwiched between two layers of concrete.

Thermomass insulation paired with modern cast-in-place (CIP) construction techniques produces highly energy efficient, load-bearing, insulated concrete walls. The patented fiber composite connectors and rigid insulation eliminate thermal bridges that are often found in other poured-in-place methods.

Thermomass products allow for:

  • Rapid construction
  • Flexibility to place in nearly any forming system, with or without liners
  • Reduced on-site construction time
  • One-step finished wall construction
  • Increased fire resistance
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Protection against above and below grade pest infestation,

Commercial ICFs

The use of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) for commercial projects has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. Energy codes across the US have changed requiring designers to have continuous insulation for exterior walls and ICF’s provide the perfect solution. Not only are designers recognizing the energy savings from using ICF’s, they are also realizing the many other benefits including:

  • Increased fire resistance
  • Increased resistance to man-made and natural disasters
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Ability to downsize mechanical systems
  • Increased speed of construction
  • Ease of use
  • Cost effective both short and long term
  • Flexibility in terms of design and exterior finishes
  • Elimination of air and water barriers above grade
  • Reduced CO2 emissions over the life of the structure when compared to wood

Based on the many benefits, ICF’s are now being used to construct the following types of structures across the country in lieu of steel or wood:

  • Educational facilities
  • University and College Dormitories
  • Movie Theaters
  • Multi-Family Housing
  • Hotels
  • 911 Critical facilities, i.e. Fire Stations & Clinics
  • Municipal Buildings

Build With Strength

Cemstone has partnered with the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) in promoting the use of concrete for commercial structures. The mission is to educate the building and design communities and policymakers on the benefits of ready mixed concrete, and encourage its use as the building material of choice for low- to mid-rise structures. No other material can replicate concrete’s advantages in terms of strength, durability, safety and ease of use.

Through the Build with Strength campaign, owners and designers have access to numerous resources at no cost including the Concrete Design Center which offers:

  • Cost estimates
  • Energy Models
  • LEED Analysis
  • Technical Guidelines from the PCA, CRSI, NRMCA and MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub to name a few
  • Professional Advancement
  • Software Solutions

Tell us about your project
See if Insulated Concrete Forms can help you get the best performance, value and longevity from your concrete project. >

Everyone knows concrete delivers curb appeal and long-term value. But concrete’s inherent properties—extreme durability, rigidity, and high reflectivity—make it ideal for a more economical, environmentally sound and sustainable solution for paving and parking areas.

Concrete pavements, as compared to bituminous paving, offer the following potential benefits:


Lower Life Cycle Costs
Studies show that concrete’s total cost is less than bituminous. Concrete pavements require less maintenance and repair over their lifetime, reducing hard costs as well as costs associated with downtime.

Lower Site Costs
Concrete pavements rely less on the ability of the soils to transfer loads so they can be installed at more sites without costly soil corrections.

Lower Lighting Costs
Concrete parking lots require less lighting, which can reduce the number of light standards as well as the electricity and maintenance associated with exterior lighting.

MIT Concrete Hub
Model Based Pavement-Vehicle Interaction Simulation for Life Cycle Assessment of Pavements >

PCA’s Material Costs Analysis >

Strength & Durability

Increased Strength
Since concrete pavements rely less on the subgrade soils, concrete pavements can stand up to the heavier traffic loads, which would deteriorate other paving materials.

Greater Durability
Unlike asphalt cement (the binder used to make bituminous concrete), Portland cement (used as the binder material for concrete) actually gains strength over time, thus resulting in the best long-term pavement solution

Freeze/Thaw Resistant. Today’s concrete mixtures are designed to withstand the harsh environmental conditions associated with our climate. Cemstone properly engineers our exterior concrete mixtures so that pavements last longer, require less maintenance and provide an aesthetically pleasing parking surface at lower lifetime costs.

Improved Appearance. Let’s be honest; concrete parking lots are great looking. What better way to show that you are open for business and ready to welcome in potential customers by having a bright welcome mat to your store or office building.

Decorative Options
Cemstone’s concrete can be colored or have textures applied to them to not only make a long lasting pavement but also a work of art.

Safety and Security — Studies have shown that concrete pavements are 30% brighter than bituminous pavements and have greater visibility resulting in a safer environment for customers and employees.

Reduced Slips and Falls — Concrete lots can withstand the effects of our climate better than other paving materials. This results in pavements that do not have potholes or other areas of distress that could lead slips and falls or ice buildup during winter months.

Reduced Heat Island Effect — Concrete pavements provide reflective surfaces that minimize the “urban heat island” effect. This can mean an air temperature reduction of 7° to 10°F, which can result in lower building cooling costs in the summer months.

Non-Petroleum Based. Concrete is produced from abundant natural resources. In addition, many Cemstone concrete mixes feature higher amounts of fly ash, , thus reducing landfill needs and improving the quality of the concrete.

The Bottom Line

Combine all these facts and your truly have a pavement that is better for the environment as well as a company’s bottom line.

Please contact Cemstone about your next paving project. Our engineers are ready to offer you suggestions on design considerations and material selection as well as analyze your particular project from an initial and long term cost perspective.

Pervious concrete is one of the most promising trends in concrete and sustainable building practices.

Because of its porous structure, pervious pavement allows stormwater to pass into the underlying soil while filtering out harmful sediments. This results in better stormwater quality, complying with new EPA regulations.

Pervious concrete pavement is a “green” product, which can assist in earning LEED points. It can be laid next to trees and foliage, still protecting root systems that may be beneath the paved areas.

This pavement lessens the heat island effect, recharges aquifers and eliminates the need for storm water retention ponds all while maximizing the land that can be developed and lowering construction costs.

Many cities are now beginning to assess residents and businesses for storm water runoff. Pervious concrete may provide tax credits in these instances.

Cemstone is a pioneer in the development and testing of pervious concrete in the upper Midwest. Contact us to learn more about pervious concrete and its many applications.

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