Industry News

Tacoma Habitat building first innovative carbon home in U.S.

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A first-of-its-kind home using zero-carbon concrete will be part of a small Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity project in Gig Harbor. The nonprofit housing organization is partnering with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s (NRMCA) Build with Strength coalition and others on the innovative three-home development.

Courtesy of Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity
For qualified renters who aspire to own Tacoma Habitat is recruiting homebuyers for its Pierce County properties.
Homes are selling under its restricted resale model to income-qualified buyers (up to 80% AMI) for under $300,000 with mortgages averaging $1,600.
Potential partners can learn more at and view the campaign toolkit at

Rather than using wood and exterior sheathing, contractors are using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) made with SolidCarbon’s BioLock concrete admixture for the exterior shell. It has 8” wide concrete poured between forms made of 2-1/4” EPS panels which are tied together through the concrete and stay in place, acting as the final wall insulation.

It is the first such Habitat home in the U.S. The sustainable and noncombustible concrete building system reduces upfront expenses and onsite construction time. The technique and materials provide both fire resistant and energy efficient benefits, along with a low-carbon construction footprint. Manufacturers also tout the noise dampening benefit due to the acoustical insulation properties of the EPS panels and thickness of the material.

Because the homes are located off Highway 16, noise pollution was a serious concern. In a blog, Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity said the sound dampening properties “made the trial of the new construction method well worth the shift from our standard building protocols.” Sound transmission tests indicated ICF walls allowed less than one-third as much sound to pass through than traditional wood-frame walls.

“As an industry, we are looking for new, innovative ideas to provide resilient, affordable housing while also achieving our industry’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Gregg Lewis, chief communications officer at the concrete association.

In recognition of the unique endeavor, the Tacoma/Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium awarded Tacoma Habit and NRMCA Build with Strength Coalition its 2023 Excellence in Affordable Housing Sustainability Award.

Clark Construction of Bainbridge Island is the general contractor for all three homes. Tacoma Habit said several NRMCA members and partners have donated and/or provided discounted materials for the project: Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, Quad-Lock, Heidelberg Materials, Airfoam Industries, Brundage Bone, Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association, American Concrete Pumpers Association, and Solid Carbon.

The innovative Gig Harbor project is part of a wider initiative between Build with Strength and Habitat for Humanity International to construct at least 50 sustainable concrete homes in 50 states in 5 years. Since its start about 2-1/2 years ago, the partnership currently has 76 homes in various stages of construction in 33 states.

Tacoma Habitat, an experienced land developer, builder, mortgage lender, and advocate for housing affordability, has been a neighborhood builder since 1985. It serves households with income at/below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).

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