Green Machine Buildings
Green Machine Buildings builds ICF homes that consume at least 70 percent less energy than typical construction methods.
By Bianca Herron
For 14 years, Green Machine Buildings has prided itself on contributing to the health of the planet by offering homes that consume at least 70 percent less energy than typical construction methods. As an insulated concrete form (ICF) contractor, the Oklahoma City-based company has completed hundreds of successful projects, focusing on the entire project’s success and not just an “ICF shell,” President Michael Summers says.
Green Machine Buildings structures provides its customers with unparalleled energy savings and comfort. ICF benefits can include a four-hour fire rating, termite, mold and pest resistance, walls able to withstand tornado winds, and reduced involuntary air, which means fewer allergens in the home.
Summers attributes Green Machine Buildings’ success to his enjoying what he does. “When we build a home we are doing our part towards the environment,” Summers explains. “That part of this type of work is what keeps me going. I feel like we’re doing something more important than just building a home or business for someone. We’re giving back in a much more impactful way by creating structures that use less energy.”
He recalls that he got his start in the industry when it was “relatively young” more than 15 years ago with the help of a local ICF contractor. “It was initially a challenge, but the industry finally got people to understand the difference between wood and concrete,” he says. “In this industry, we have to converse in-depth with customers about why they should spend their money to have this type of home built.”
Summers notes that customers drive the ICF market in Oklahoma. “Builders don’t typically build this kind of product; however if homeowners ask for ICF,” he explains. “Then a builder calls me to see if we can do it, which we can.”
Green Machine Buildings’ most recent project is located in Ponca City, Okla. The company started construction last year and anticipate completion in August. The 4,764-square-foot home is a very detailed-oriented project because of its unique, all-concrete design, according to Summers.
Although this project may be less than 5,000 square feet, it has more than 15,000 square feet of walls, including ceilings that are at least 11 feet high and some as high as 19 feet. In addition, the home will feature a large master bedroom with a walk-in tornado shelter closet, a great room with 19-foot high ceilings and a folding patio door 20 feet wide.
“It will also feature a guest suite, elevator, study, an upstairs bedroom, upstairs media room, as well as a walk-out second story deck overlooking Kaw Lake,” Summers says. “Not to mention, instant hot water, solar, geothermal and a custom pool.
“The home has parapet walls over all six different elevations with low-slope roofs held by the original Watkins Hangers using top chord pitched wood trusses, with a lightweight concrete cap and membrane roof system,” he continues.
He adds that this style of residential construction is unique in Oklahoma. “However I think the style is becoming more popular,” Summers says, noting that millennials seem interested in the home style.
“When most people are thinking about building an ICF home, they traditionally have been folks who are building the last home they will live in. When you build a house like that you follow through with components, such as geothermal and high-quality windows, that help maximize ICF construction, which in turn offer real savings they can count on after retirement.”
As Green Machine Buildings moves forward, it aims to develop and build its own ICF designs in the future. “I have a lot of interest in full concrete envelopes and we think we have some design concepts that are going to be within reason to build, and very attractive and functional for the new growing families out there,” summers concludes.