Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: Florida
PROJECT: Park West, Palmetto, Florida
SUBMITTER: Carl Hebinck, President, AmHome USA Inc., Land O'Lakes, Florida
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Park West is a 10-unit attached housing development built in
Palmetto Florida, on the gulf coast south of Tampa Bay. The complex can be described as five
attached back-to-back duplexes (10 homes), with five house entrances and five garage entrances
on each side. This design provides greater privacy and separation between units than the more
typical side-by-side town-house arrangement. The Manatee County Community Redevelopment
Agency provided financial assistance to qualified buyers. Average home cost was $65,000 for
a residence with over 1400 square feet of living and garage area.
A patented design system using insulated concrete form (ICF) construction technology. The
walls consist of 4 X 8 foot panels with 2-inch expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation
forming the sides. The panels are erected on-site, braced, and then filled with 5000-psi concrete
to produce an extremely strong wall with a stated R-40 insulation value. The roof uses
engineered wood I-beams as rafters, with 9-inch EPS rigid insulation slid between the rafters.
The foam insulation is supported by the rafter flange, speeding construction and providing a
stated R-50 roof insulation. A radiant barrier is applied to decrease the air conditioning load.
Average construction time is from five to nine days. The homes are extremely energy-efficient
home, with about one-half the air conditioning and heating requirements of conventionally
constructed units. A whole house ventilating fan cools the homes inexpensively. For further
comfort, each room is pre-wired for a ceiling fan.
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Palmetto Homes (builder), AmHome USA Inc. (manufacturer),
Manatee County Community Redevelopment Agency (buyer financing assistance)
BUILDING INNOVATION FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP
PROJECT: Synergy Cohousing Community, Delray Beach Florida
SUBMITTER: The Cohousing Company, Berkeley California
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Synergy Cohousing Community in Delray Beach, Florida, is
based on a Scandinavian housing model that combines the autonomy of private homes with the
advantages of shared community resources. The development will consist of 32 units with a
common house. The common house provides a kitchen\dining area, recreational and sitting
rooms, laundry, day care, guest room, office, and a meeting room. The two-bedroom units will
average 1,250 square feet and sell for $125,000.
All homes will be built with insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. ICF construction uses
rigid expanded polystyrene insulation as the form material for the concrete walls. After the
concrete sets up the insulation forms remain to provide a highly insulated structure. The walls
for Synergy Cohousing will have an R-value of 27.
Each building will also incorporate a passive solar cooling system to assist in heat removal when
humidity control is not required. The system uses a central stairway as a chimney stack with
louvers at the top to pull the air from the living units. First floor units or bottom floor of two
story units connect to the stack through a ceiling damper and second floor units or top floor of
two story units have a transom above the entrance door.
The project will also use active solar hot water system for each building with a supplemental
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Synergy Cohousing Community (developer), Delray Beach
Florida, The Cohousing Company (co-developer), Berkeley California, McCamant and Durrett,
Berkeley California (architect)
BUILDING INNOVATION FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP AWARD WINNER
PROJECT: Habitat for Humanity-Walton County/Habitat for Humanity International, Freeport
Florida and Americus Georgia
SUBMITTER: Hebel House USA, Niceville Florida
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Habitat for Humanity-Walton County/Habitat for Humanity
International affordable home in Walton County, Florida, is a prototype for another home in
Americus, Georgia. The innovative concrete block product used in constructing these homes
is both practical and volunteer-friendly, making it a model for other Habitat projects in the
United States and abroad. The Walton County Habitat pilot home is a 1,170 square-foot, three-
bedroom home that will sell for $40,000.
The Hebel blocks weigh 25 percent less than conventional concrete masonry units (CMUs). The
blocks are an autoclaved, aerated concrete produced from a mixture of sand, Portland cement,
lime, water, and a proprietary expanding agent. The mixture is cured in an autoclave using high
pressure steam. The expanding agent creates a product with a higher insulation or R-value than
CMU. The blocks can also be cut, drilled, and nailed using standard wood tools. The blocks
are commonly used in Europe and other parts of the world and recently have attracted interest
in the United States.
The blocks can be installed by semi-skilled labor. A special mortar mix is used which is spread
with a sawtooth trowel. The consistency and thickness of the mortar and squareness of the block
result in a product which is self-leveling and quicker to install. The blocks are nearly twice as
large as CMUs further shortening construction time. Hebel also produces a panel designed for
roof construction. Additional strength is obtained by drilling holes through the block and
inserting reinforcing steel rods.
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Habitat for Humanity-Walton County, Santa Rosa Beach
Florida/Habitat for Humanity International, Americus Georgia (builders), Hebel House USA,
Niceville Florida (architect, co-builder)
Content Archived: January 20, 2009