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Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: Georgia

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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