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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)


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 electric heater.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Synergy Cohousing Community (developer), Delray Beach Florida, The Cohousing Company (co-developer), Berkeley California, McCamant and Durrett, Berkeley California (architect)


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

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