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The Deans of Green

The Deans of Green

IBS 2010: Green Builder Donates 1,000 Homes to Haitians

comments (0) January 28th, 2010 in Blogs
FPR Fernando Pages Ruiz, contributor

A lightweight, fiber composite panel, InnoVida offers a whopping R-6.5 per inch, or R-26 in a 4-inch wall, practically R-40 in a 6-inch width. Click To Enlarge

A lightweight, fiber composite panel, InnoVida offers a whopping R-6.5 per inch, or R-26 in a 4-inch wall, practically R-40 in a 6-inch width.

When I learned that a new, building technology company, with its first ever display at IBS, was donating 1,000 homes to Haitians, I decided to go see their booth. A company big enough to make such a donation must have a huge display, so I looked for a big sign and a huge booth, but instead I triped across InnoVida almost by accident, occupying a tiny stand at the far corner of Central Hall, with a few project photos in a three ring binder, a dated video, and a few samples of their Fiber Composite panel samples strewn on a coffee table. But quickly I realized that, like an iceberg, the understated display hid a game changing technology and a company with the financial wherewithal to make a dent in the US housing industry.

In simple terms, InnoVida has taken proven boat and airplane construction technology and turned it into a structural homebuilding product that resembles traditional SIPS panels. Instead of OSB, the skin is made of fiberglass over a proprietary resin, sandwiching a polyurethane, high density foam core that boasts an R 6.5 per inch. In other words, a full depth 4-inch panel yields an R-26 exterior wall. Wow. An 8-inch vaulted ceiling panel comfortably provides an R-52. But this is only a side benefit when you consider both cost and ease of construction.

InnoVida claims their panels actually cost less on a square foot basis that SIPS. What’s more, once erected, the InnoVida panels do not require drywall, exterior cladding, or even roofing. These finishes can be applied, but only for esthetic reasons. Mario Sanchez, Vice President of Operations, says most users simply paint interior walls, sometimes applying a traditional exterior coating, such as stucco or siding, and decorative roof shingles. But none of this is necessary. The house is completely impermeable and weather-resistant as is. Erect the walls and roof, install windows and doors, lay down some flooring, and move in. They claim a completed 1,200 sf home goes up in about one week. And they have a video to prove it. 

Another advantage to competing building panel systems comes with the light weight of InnoVida fiberglass. Unlike OSB or drywall SIPS, InnoVida panels can be handled by two semiskilled laborers without a crane, forklift, or other heavy equipment. Unlike ICFs that require assembly and then concrete fill, it’s a single-step process. Each time a panel goes up, that part of the building is done. Except, of course, the wiring, plumbing and ductwork. Oh well.

The green benefits are less clearly defined, but they include the obvious high energy efficiency of a sealed home assembly built with super-insulated panels. The company claims little or no jobsite waste. The ability to recycle any unused product.  But questions of recycled content within the product -- a natural for a fiberglass panel -- and the inclusion of any bio-based polyurethane in their foam core have not been answered yet. When the replies come, if noteworthy, the thing about a blog is I can edit and update, so check back.      

Including architect/planner Andres Duany on board for the Haiti project, and a model home of his design at their manufacturing plant in Miami Beach, was an ingenious way to assure InnoVida gets noticed at the highest levels of the development and construction industry. You can be sure this innovative product will catch the attention of architects and planners nationwide. So look for InnoVida to pop up at a new subdivision in your backyard… as soon as the subdivision phenomenon returns.


posted in: Blogs, business, architecture, green building, framing, , insulation, walls, lumber, haiti, innovida