By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- Imagine living in a home that's made from styrofoam walls that fit together like legos. As strange as it seems, the city of Midland says it works. They claim it is safe and inexpensive too. The city believes these homes are part of the future of the Basin, especially for low-income families.
Blanca Munoz is the Owner of Munoz Construction Company in Midland. Her company was contracted by the city to build one of these new homes.
"It's going to save people a lot of money on their utilities and their insurance and it's just a wonderful type of [construction method]," Munoz said.
Sylvester Cantu is the Manager of the Community Development Division at the city of Midland. He says this type of construction is called "Insulated Concrete Form (ICF)". It's a unique building style that's been used in other cities. Now, it's hitting the Basin.
The walls are comprised of styrofoam pieces fit together kind of like legos. Grids of steel then run between the styrofoam pieces. Lastly, concrete is poured throughout the middle of the styrofoam exterior. That forms a durable, safe and well-insulated home, according to the city.
"You can save $200 to $250 per month in your utility bills." Cantu said. "Very large 2,000 to 3,000 square-foot homes will have electricity bills around $50 to $60 or less."
There's a lot of money in the Basin right now. It makes it tough for low-income families struggling to get by with the soaring housing market. The city of Midland is introducing this construction style to give these people an option that will save them some cash.
It's part of a reconstruction program. The city will finance the demolition of a low-income homeowner's substandard home and then help that owner build a new one using the ICF method.