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OPIC Loan to Help Construct Thousands of Homes in Haiti

January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will enable a U.S.-headquartered business to manufacture Fiber Composite Panels that will be used to build more than 32,000 energy-efficient homes in Haiti over the next five years, helping the country to rebuild from the devastation caused by the January 12 earthquake.

InnoVida Holdings, LLC, based in Miami Beach, FL, will use the OPIC loan and its own capital to add  a manufacturing facility in Haiti to its existing U.S. and worldwide operations. The new facility  will produce Fiber Composite  Panels that can be used to build homes using local labor in as little as two days. Once the Haitian production facility is in place, InnoVida will be able to produce panels to construct 6,500 homes annually in Haiti for the next five years.

The project had been in development prior to the earthquake, but given the urgent need for shelter in Haiti, InnoVida has offered to ship panels immediately from its existing production facility in Miami to begin construction of 550 homes in Haiti. 
InnoVida’s technology greatly reduces the need for natural resources: no wood, steel, or concrete is involved in construction of the panels. Moreover, the panel’s insulating capabilities reduce the amount of energy needed to cool homes and allow the inside temperature to be significantly cooler and dryer than the outside without air conditioning. The low-energy consumption of the home will easily allow for a design that can be fully self-sustaining, with solar panels for independent electricity generation and water catchment and treatment systems for recycling water and sanitary waste. 

InnoVida’s composite panels are lightweight and strong. Homes can be constructed without heavy construction equipment such as cranes or forklifts. Independent tests have demonstrated that the panels can withstand Category 5 hurricanes, earthquakes registering 7.5 on the Richter scale, and are fire resistance up to 2,200° F for 90 minutes.

“The homes generated by this project will help to meet Haiti’s urgent need for housing following the earthquake. Using the latest technology, they will be able to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, generate their own energy, and, most importantly, be constructed quickly and with minimal labor,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “We are pleased to be able to partner with a U.S.-headquartered business in responding to Haiti’s need for new infrastructure.”

“Our partnership with OPIC is accelerating our ability to help the earthquake victims. InnoVida's technology will be very helpful to Haiti's long term recovery plan through the utilization of local labor and rapid deployment of permanent structures that not only provide a better quality of life but also can withstand earthquakes, floods and hurricane force winds,” stated Claudio Osorio, CEO of Innovida.