The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 declared as its goal a national policy to "create and maintain conditions under which [humans] and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans." In an effort to meet the goal of sustainability, builders are increasingly taking notice of as a mainstream building option. The energy cost savings; the homes' ability to provide healthier living environments and concrete's unyielding ability to withstand natural disasters are some of the major forces driving homeowner interest in these homes.

Recognizing an educational void, ConcreteNetwork.com has taken this emerging trend and dedicated an entire section of its Web site to detail everything there is to know, including the cost of building a concrete home, design options, and more.

According to ConcreteNetwork.com, concrete homes on average require about 44 percent less energy to heat and 32 percent less energy to cool than a comparable wood-frame house. Plus, it added, the walls contain no organic material and won't support the growth of mold, mildew and other potentially harmful microorganisms that can cause allergies and other health problems.

From the outside, a concrete home looks like any other home, however, the benefits of an energy efficient home come from within the structure itself. Three types of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) can be used to build a concrete home, they include: block systems, panel systems and plank systems. No matter which system is used, because of concrete's strength and moldability, custom forms can create any size or style of home imaginable permitting for traditional home styles, like Victorian or Craftsman styles to customizable architectural effects.

For the long-term protection of any concrete surface, pplication of concrete floor sealant. The Web site has updated its section with up-to-date articles and information on today's products, including tips on how to seal concrete floors, functions of sealers and how to pick the right type of sealer.

Once a decorative concrete floor is installed, whether it is a stamped pool deck or patio, an interlocking paver driveway or a stained floor, proper maintenance and protection with the right type of concrete sealer is key in keeping the floor spectacular for many years while extending its service life," the site concluded.

Sealers fall into two broad categories: penetrating sealers and film forming sealers. Some of their main functions are to beautify and enhance color, protect surfaces from dirt, oil, grease, and chemicals, resist abrasion and UV exposure, repel water and more.

Penetrating sealers are most commonly used to improve the durability of exterior concrete surfaces subject to corrosion and freeze-thaw damage. While film-forming sealers are most often used for decorative concrete work, and they do just what the name implies - form a protective film on the surface of the concrete.

Concrete is good for the environment, and therefore, good for business. For builders looking to learn more about concrete and related products, the ConcreteNetwork.com now features four new, topic specific newsletters about decorative concrete trends, concrete floors, concrete countertops, and outdoor surfaces.

[Note: Established in 1999, The Concrete Network's purpose is to educate consumers, builders, and contractors on popular decorative concrete techniques, applications, and products.

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