Gary Fetters, Jim Ritchheart and Rod Fetters

Castle Rock Homes is run by co-owner Gary Fetters, left, project manager Jim Ritchheart and co-owner Rod Fetters. (Photo courtesy Castle Rock Homes)

After retiring from the Air Force, Rod Fetters and his brother, Gary, decided they wanted to fulfill their dreams of building custom homes.

But not just any homes.

In 2004, they established Castle Rock Homes, which specializes in the use of insulated concrete forms (ICF) as building blocks for more energy-efficient and sustainable houses.

“One thing their military background brings to the table is attention to detail and security,” said Vicki Connell, office manager for the Litchfield Park-based business.

ICF consists of 4-foot-wide by 16-inch-tall building blocks that are stronger and quieter than wood and have an energy efficiency rate of R-40, Connell said. Wood homes have an energy efficiency rate of R-19. The greater the R value, the greater the resistance to heat flow.

This month, at a date to be determined, Castle Rock Homes will take custom home building to a new level in hopes of benefiting the Arizona Special Olympics – Palo Verde with a fun, engaging project.

They will attempt to build the structure of a home in one day using ICF blocks that will be painted in various colors to look like Lego. The “Lego home” will be built in Litchfield Park and is the first time they have done something of this nature.

“We are excited about the Lego-like project,” Rod said. “Everyone loves Lego, kids and adults, and most everyone loves seeing things being built.”

The project will be videotaped and put on their YouTube channel, and all the earnings from the video will be donated to the Special Olympics.

ICF homes take around six to seven months to build from groundbreaking to finish, according to Gary, and Castle Rock Homes has accomplished building up to eight homes per year.

Rod said they built three custom homes their first year.

Once finished, the home’s price will be about $700,000, Gary said. He added pricing depends on size and location, but ICF homes typically cost 5 to 7 percent more than wood homes due to their sustainability.

Concrete homes have been standing for more than 250 years in other countries, Rod added. In comparison, he said a traditional American wood-built home usually stands up to 80 years.

Rod said his favorite part of the job is turning the keys over to a customer and seeing the excitement of him or her moving into the new home and beginning a new chapter of life.

“Castle Rock Homes projects steady growth in the West Valley in the years to come,” he said. “And a major goal of our team is to give our success back to the community, especially through military and special programs.”