GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Developers say will a new material will keep homes safe the next time a big storm rolls through the coast.
Autoclaved aerated concrete, or AAC, and a cul-de-sac off of Courthouse Rd. in Gulfport will be the first on the Coast to use AAC as its primary construction material.
"I've never seen anything like it," said developer David Comstock.
Comstock and his team of developers believe AAC has an upper hand on standard materials because it can stack, just like cinder blocks. Material can also be cut and drilled like wood.
When hit with a hammer, only a small impact mark is left on the material. The mark can be easily repaired and painted according to Comstock.
Another advantage: termite and fire resistance.
"This material doesn't start deteriorating until 2,700 degrees. So your house is not going to burn down," said Comstock.
One of Comstock's partners, Ned Couret, says the masonry also provides an unprecedented strength against winds.
"This house that we're standing in today could withstand 175-185 very very easily," said Couret.
Because of its wind resistance and insulating properties, the developers also claim the material could cut wind insurance by 50 percent, and utility costs by 35 percent. They also say, overall, it could make a home cheaper to own.
According to Comstock, AAC is the second most widely used building component in the world.
"Sixty percent of all new construction, whether residential or commercial, in Germany is built out of this product," said Comstock.
So, why aren't all houses on the coast being built with AAC? Comstock blames accessibility.
"There's only one plant in the United States, we got most of this material out of Mexico," said Comstock.
That's why he and his partners are working to open a manufacturing plant for the material in Lumberton. If his plans come to fruition, he hopes the material will become a construction standard on the coast and throughout Mississippi.
Comstock and his partners hope to have the AAC manufacturing plant open within a year.