Updated 4 yearss ago
When Hurricane Irma came ashore in the Florida Keys at Cudjoe Key, it extensively damaged more than 90% of the homes nearby. But one new home — made from structural insulated panels manufactured in Hialeah by Innova Eco Building System — remained unharmed. In Johns Island, S.C., in 2015, another home made with Innova’s panels sustained only minor cosmetic damage during an EF2 tornado, while 10 surrounding homes were severely damaged or destroyed.
Founded in 2012, Innova manufactures ready-to-assemble panels made with a magnesium cement skin, which can be used in construction in place of concrete block or wood framing. About 60% lighter than masonry block and concrete, the load-bearing panels do not rot or mold, aren’t affected by termites and are fire-resistant, LEEDcertified, VOC- and toxinfree. Equally important to Innova’s business model, they meet Miami-Dade County’s building codes — and can withstand winds of more than 200 mph. The panels also keep a home insulated more efficiently than the fiberglass traditionally added to walls — a typical house made with Innova’s panels will use 50% less power, says CEO Jerry Gillman.
Innova has five patents on its structural insulated panels, which it customizes and cuts to each home’s design. Homes made with Innova panels don’t need drywall or stucco, and Gillman says the manufactured panels allow a builder to finish the structure of a house, including interior walls, in two to three weeks — about half the time as traditional concrete block construction, for about the same price.
Homes built with Innova panels generally cost in the $125-to-$150 per-square-foot range of a traditional custom home. A developer building out a large project with two or three models may spend less with Innova’s panels, Gillman says. That’s in large part because the factory is highly automated, and the 40-person company can produce panels for up to 150 homes a month. The company makes panels for about seven custom homes a month.
Innova CEO Jerry Gillman says using the panels allows builders to finish a home in about half the time it normally takes for about the same price.
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