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Going Green in Lakeland

By Paul M. Thompson, CAE MIRM

If you think Past Presidents of the Florida Home Builders Association just ride quietly into the sunset, think again. FHBA's 2000 President Mike Hickman of Hickman Homes in Lakeland has done anything but rest on his leadership laurels.


In fact, this fall, he earned statewide and national recognition for building the Polk County Builders Association's "Go Green Showcase Home," which garnered a number of impressive achievements, including:

  • The first in Central Florida to receive the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) ANSI Gold Level Certification.

  • Federal ENERGY STAR Certification (with HERS rating of 46)

  • Platinum Level Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Certification

  • One of the first in Central Florida to receive the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFMD) Water Star Gold Certification for water conservation

"The home surpassed all of my expectations," said Hickman, who built the home as a fundraiser for the Polk County BA Foundation and the Future Builders of America program, which he served as Chair in 2009. "A lot of the credit has to go to our green building consultants, Drew and Debbie Smith of TwoTrails, Inc., and Scott Ranck of Central Florida Gas, who handled the Energy Star certification, HERS rating, and blower tests."

Among the home's many green features are solar panels and Phorovoltaic (PV) modules to convert sun light into electric energy. The system is connected to a grid with a direct link to Lakeland Electric utility company. The excess energy that is created is used by the utility company and credited back to the homeowner for their overall electric consumption.

In addition, a solar hot water panel circulates and stores water. This water is heated by the sun's rays and made available for every day household hot water use. Combined with a tankless gas water heater, the system allows homeowners to enjoy hot water with virtually no electric consumption and a significantly reduced monthly electric bill.

The home also features Icynene foam insulation in the attic. Icynene is an open cell, flexible foam that is sprayed on the underside of the attic roof and walls. The foam will expand up to 100 times its size, curing to a soft and flexible insulation that will seal the attic from the summer heat, or the winter cold.

Similarly, the exterior block walls were filled with Foam Core, an expandable insulation pumped into small holes drilled around the home. Covering the inside of the Foam Core walls was M-shield reflective insulation. Together, the products yielded a dramatic R-15 value (heat resistance) for the exterior wall.

Hickman searched for ways to incorporate recycled products in the home. He started from the ground up, building the foundation and walls with GreenBlok. Produced by Cement Products of Lakeland, GreenBIok is a mix of locally processed material and recycled concrete. The block is as strong and as durable as a standard block.

In addition, the dazzling countertops in the kitchen and baths are made by lceStone out of 100-percent-recycled glass fragments and concrete and the carpet from Mohawk Industries is made from recycled plastic bottles.

For more on the home, which is for sale at Morgan Creek Preserve community in South Lakeland, visit www.hickmanhomes.net.

Paul M. Thompson, CAE, MIRM. is the CEO/Executive Vice President of the Florida Home Builders Association.