As a design-build contractor in an area with no shortage of upscale home buyers, I have quite a few clients who care more about getting a good product than they do about watching every dime. As a result, I often have a chance to try out new products and ideas. One thing I do with that freedom is try to steer my designs in the energy-efficient and "green" direction, while meeting the client's other objectives.

On a recent project, I used the Polysteel insulated concrete form (ICF) system to build the foundations for three connected buildings. I'm glad I gave this system a chance: The results were everything I had hoped for, and the few minor glitches we encountered will be easy to avoid next time around.

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