No lumber? No problem

Richland couple built an energy-efficient home, made with concrete, back in 2003 and they’re still reaping the benefits.
Posted at 10:58 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 22:58:52-04

RICHLAND, Mich. — Even though lumber prices have started to drop, it’s still kind of hard to come by.

However, one local couple tells us that’s no problem, they say there’s a better way to build your home.

The coolest part of Ken and Debbie Sunden’s home is their Detroit Red Wings room. The walls are painted red. The bed is covered with a Red Wings blanket.

There are pictures of the hockey team’s greatest moments on the walls.

However, the floor is what stands out the most and Debbie was excited to show it.

“We have the Joe Louis Arena center ice because we have cement floors,” Debbie said while giving FOX 17 a tour of the home recently. “So, we stained this to look like this.”

Debbie said cement was one of the main materials used to build their ICF home, which stands for Insulated Cement Form. They built it back in 2003 and have loved it ever since.

“I joke that we live in an igloo cooler because it’s just that efficient with the Styrofoam and the concrete,” Debbie laughed while sitting next to her husband during the interview with FOX 17. “You can keep it warm in the winter. You can cool it off in the summer.”

And, it’s energy-efficient she said. The Sundens pay $300 a month for gas and electric for their 3,500 square feet home.

“So energy efficiency was at the top,” Ken said about the things they considered when they built the house. “It was a stronger construction and we were looking to have as little treated lumber in the house as we could.”

Ken said at the time there were reports that the chemicals and treatments that went into lumber were not healthy for children. So, they used as little of it as possible.

Debbie added that another one of the home's benefits was its noise reduction quality.

“It’s very quiet,” Debbie said. “There was a fire in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. There was a brush fire. I didn’t even notice. I didn’t hear the sirens. I didn’t know about it until I saw it on Facebook.”

She said anytime there are noises around the house, their two gladly alert them. Nevertheless, building an ICF home has been a good decision that they still benefit from. They hope others will look into building one as well.

“I would just come back to an excellent builder and a well-executed plan will lead to a house you love,” Ken said. “I think if any of those components are missing, it may not be fun to build.”