Graceful Solutions non-profit using new sustainable materials for affordable housing

Graceful Solutions, a non-profit focused on affordable housing, is working on brand new construction on Putnam Drive.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 10:30 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Graceful Solutions, a non-profit focused on affordable housing, is working on brand new construction on Putnam Drive.

The group has four lots of land on the corner, and President Bill Wilson says they’ll be building four duplexes, for a total of eight units.

The houses are built with structural insulated panels called “SIPs.”

“It has a board on either side of a foam core,” Wilson explained. “The material is inorganic, so it won’t grow mold, it won’t grow mildew. It’s watertight, it’s fire retardant.”

The boards are made of magnesium oxide cement.

“It is a net negative carbon footprint because as this cement cures, it absorbs CO2,” Wilson said. “We’re using light gauge steel for top and bottom plates and for some verticals at the corners and windows and doors to give it extra strength, and we’ll have a wind resistance of about 180 miles per hour.”

The material also saves money down the line for future owners and creates less waste at the construction stage.

“Think of it like an ice cream sandwich,” said Graceful Solutions’ Director of Single-Family Housing, Oral Payne. “Styrofoam in the middle and magnesium concrete on the outside. You’re basically lowering your utility bills 40 to 60 percent because the styrofoam acts as an insulator.”

City Commissioner Curtis Richardson visited the construction site on Tuesday. He says the development meets the city’s goal of utilizing vacant lots.

“We want to make sure that we aren’t growing outward too much, but that we’re also making sure that we grow inward and doing the urban infill,” Richardson said.

The houses will be sold to families that are below 80% of the area median income, or AMI.

“Take a family that thinks they’re never going to own a home; and when they finally do get one, the changes in their facial expressions!” Payne said. “I’ve had families where the kid, the child now has a room, and his grades start going up.”

The homes can also be built quickly.

Wilson says while the first one may take a bit longer, after the concrete is poured and steel is placed, the panel installation only takes about a week. They hope to have the first duplex ready for move-in in 90 days.

You can learn more about Graceful Solutions here.

Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.