Going green is trend in building
JACKSON -- Consumers are hearing the latest buzz words -- go green -- all around. Building green is becoming more and more popular in the construction industry and Dick Bosacker is proud to say his company has been in this market for 25 years. Li...
JACKSON -- Consumers are hearing the latest buzz words -- go green -- all around.
Building green is becoming more and more popular in the construction industry and Dick Bosacker is proud to say his company has been in this market for 25 years.
Liteform's insulated concrete forms (ICF) for poured basement walls was one of the first forms on the market 25 years ago. Bosacker has owned Liteform Midwest for 15 years.
The biggest reason people use the ICFs is for energy efficiency.
"The trend is moving toward building green," said Bosacker. "We're right in that niche. That's what we've been doing so we don't have to change anything with our products."
Bosacker's Liteform Midwest business is based in Jackson, but the company works with homeowners and commercial businesses and contractors in the southern half of Minnesota, northwest Iowa and into South Dakota.
"We've done new basements from Alexandria to Storm Lake, Iowa, and also from Winona to Sioux Falls, S.D." said Bosacker.
"It just doesn't get any better than that," said Bosacker about poured concrete walls with insulation on both sides. "The quietness, strength and energy efficiency has been the reason for the growing demand of ICF for new construction."
Each year, Liteform Midwest does 25 to 30 projects where a house with no basement or an old basement is lifted up.
"We then build and pour a new basement and let the house back down on it," he said. "We also move houses to a new site and put on a new basement."
Liteform Midwest also sells Gerkin windows and many other products needed for concrete construction.
"Our main focus is working with the homeowners direct to start with and then get them a free estimate for costs upon fitting into their budget," said Bosacker. "We then get one of our 51 trained contractors to give us a bid."
During Bosacker's 15 years as owner of Liteform Midwest, more than 2,000 projects have been completed. They range from commercial businesses like car washes and community centers to apartment complexes and homes.
"What's important to me is not only are they our customers, but they become our friends," said Bosacker.
Three years ago, Bosacker hired Brett Harmening as a salesman to help expand the business. Melissa Osterberg is the office manager.
Not only are concrete basements with ICFs becoming more common, all-concrete homes are gaining popularity.
"We are starting to do more and more all-concrete homes these days," he said.
One past customer who constructed a 4,200-square-foot, all-concrete home in Jackson 14 years ago reports its highest heat bill has been $83. The homeowner is pleased with how much money he saves each year on the heat bill.
"All concrete homes are attractive because poured walls are the best insulation you can get," Bosacker said.
Each year, Liteform Midwest attends between 21 and 26 home shows to introduce people to the product. Over the years, Bosacker has seen more people become interested in ICFs.
"Fifteen years ago no one would stop and talk to you," he said. "One big thing that Liteform did to step out was being on 'This Old House' about three years ago. People will come up now and say, 'We saw that on 'This Old House.'x"
"It's really a great feeling to visit with our customers and hear how efficient and comfortable they are," said Bosacker. "The word of mouth from happy customers is one of our biggest reasons for growth."
One of the key pieces for Liteform Midwest is working with contractors to teach them how to properly install ICFs. Trainings are offered regularly in Jackson, and Bosacker is always looking for more area contractors who want to learn to install ICFs.
"By training our contractor contacts, we can control our workmanship to a high standard," he said. "We will work right with them side by side on the first project."
"When I first started this, there was a block layer in town who said 'I am not going to do foam walls. I am a block layer,'" Bosacker recalled. "Then a homeowner said, 'I want ICFs, so you need to do that or I am going with a different contractor.'"
Learning to install ICFs allows contractors to meet the changing needs of customers. Contractors who are interested in learning more about Liteform's products can contact Bosacker.
"That block layer is so glad he learned," said Bosacker. "Now he does both."
During this summer and fall's building season, Bosacker expects homeowners to look at completing remodeling projects instead of building new.
"The housing crunch has seen a big swing to additions and remodeling of existing homes," said Bosacker.