Your New "Recycled" Home

By Mike Hickman

Mike Hickman - Polk County, FL Go Green BuilderLike uncut jewels mined from the earth, our neighborhood curbsides boost little yellow and blue bins filled with plastic bottles; bottles that can actually help make a "gem" of a new home.

For an explanation, look no further than the "Go Green" Showcase Home, built by Hickman Homes. This home demonstrates cutting edge green technology, energy efficiency and recycled products.

To start with, the home is at the forefront of recycling. A typical home of this size will create about 60 cubic yards of waste during construction; waste material that goes directly to a landfill. Through a simple program created by Florida Refuse, we were able to separate our debris and save about one-third of the material for reuse.

Then, we searched for ways to incorporate recycled products in the home. Products that you can feel, touch, and appreciate the recycling efforts. Products that make a comfortable home to live in and produce less waste. We started from the ground up, building the foundation and walls with GreenBlok Produced by Cement Products of Lakeland. GreenBlok is a mix of locally processed material and recycled concrete. This block is as strong and as durable as a standard block.

And if recycled walls don't excite you, how about dazzling countertops in the kitchen and baths? Made of 100% recycled glass fragments and concrete "IceStone" countertops offer a durable radiance unlike any other countertop material.

So where do the plastic bottles fit in? How about carpet - made oul of recycled plastic bottles. Mohawk Industries, the carpet manufacturer, takes discarded bottles and shreds them in to plastic fibers. These fibers make up a soft-to-the-touch carpet with exceptional stain resistance, superb color clarity and at a cost the same as conventional carpets. The carpet has been so successful that Mohawk Industries now recycles more than three billion plastic bottles a year.

For the "Go Green" Showcase Home, Mohawk has offered to give us the carpet if we collect an equivalent number of bottles needed to produce the carpet; 2,800 bottles to be exact. In response to this offer, the Polk County Builders Association and Stinson Carpets have established a collection center. So, if you want to see the direct results for your recycle efforts; give the Builders Association a call at 863-665-0844 or bring your bottles to the bright green dumpster located at Stinson Carpets, 2315 Commerce Drive, Lakeland.

The "Go Green" Showcase Home, located at Morgan Creek Preserve in South Lakeland, is for sale. All of the proceeds will go to the Polk County Builders Association Foundation, a 501 (c)3, for the support of their Future Builders of America program and student scholarships. For additional information, contact the Polk County Builders Association at 863-665-0844 or Hickman Homes at 863-646-1166, or look us up at www.hickmanhomes.net.

Mike Hickman is President of Hickman Homes Inc. and the 2009 Chairman of the Future Builders of America.