ODESSA, Fla. - KHP Homes, based out of Wesley Chapel, is building a custom, waterfront home in Odessa. They're doing with a material that looks like something we've all pulled out of a delivered package. It's an expanded polystyrene product, also known as plastic foam.
KHP is combining the plastic foam with steel panels to create the walls. Company president Khamir Patel says the combination gives the home incredible strength.
"There is a certain density where it’s engineered so that even a car can go over the panel and it will structurally stay," said Patel.
The home will be hurricane rated up to 180 miles per hour, but Patel says durability isn't even the greatest benefit of building with foam. It's energy efficiency.
"If you look at a McDonalds coffee cup, there is 1/8 inch foam, right? And it's protecting you from boiling hot coffee. We are using 6 inches right here, so the sun is never going to penetrate," he continued.
Patel says the average home buyer can expect to save 50-70% off their electric bill. That, combined with the fact both polystyrene and steel are 100% recyclable, make the homes a desirable choice for those looking to leave a smaller environmental footprint.
"These different aspects of eco-friendliness, sustainability and energy efficiency make a big impact on the buyer's mind." says Patel.
However, steel does cost more than wood. Patel says buyers can expect to pay three to four dollars extra per square foot, as compared to traditional building. It's a cost he believes will be offset by utility savings in five to 10 years.
"You also save on your insurance costs because we are using non-combustible materials," he added.
Patel believes this unique style of home building is the future for homes in all price ranges.
"I definitely think it should take off and the time is ripe," he said. "I think it’s time for a new generation to come. Generally speaking, the building industry is the slowest to change."
LINK: Learn more about KHP Homes by clicking here.