In the search to find stronger, more resilient ways to build—particularly in markets such as Florida, where hurricanes are increasingly frequent and severe—one company, Miami-based Renco USA, is putting a new construction technology to the test. The Lakewood Villages project, which consists of four buildings with a total of 96 apartments, in Palm Springs, Fla., was unveiled on Nov. 13, WPBF 25 reports, and uses a building system consisting of blocks that interlock much like toy Lego bricks. The blocks are even color coded to show the construction sequence and which pieces go where.
Renco, short for renewable composite, claims its blocks are 23 times stronger than concrete, are less expensive, and that projects using its building system can be finished more quickly than traditional construction. The blocks, which are used to create everything from structural walls to floors and roofs, combine recycled glass fibers, recycled plastic, resin, and stone to create a new material the company says is rated to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.
Florida's homeowner insurance rates have become a concern, ranking among the highest in the nation. The introduction of this new type of building aims to alleviate the financial burden on residents, offering a potential solution while simultaneously fortifying communities against the looming storm threats.
"It's important to our residents to have a building that's going to be able to sustain them. So, they don't have to find housing, and we don't have to help them find housing when their residence or business has been destroyed. This is really important for the community," said Mayor Bev Smith of Palm Springs.