Americus, Ga. – The Americus-Sumter County Fuller Center for Housing held a special Earth Day ceremony Thursday evening to dedicate the highly energy-efficient home near completion on Elizabeth Street for two local residents.
More than 60 community members came to show their support. Chair of the local Americus-Sumter Fuller Center board, Kirk Lyman-Barner, said he counted 375 people who have volunteered, donated to, or somehow been involved with the home’s progress.
“It’s amazing to tally up all the people who have been involved. Some are on site week after week. Some come through behind the scenes. We need and appreciate them all,” he said.
The handicap-accessible duplex will be home to Americus’ Chuck Davis and Thaddeus Harris. Both men are in wheelchairs—Davis has cerebral palsy and Harris was paralyzed in an automobile accident. As part of the ceremony, Davis and Harris signed contracts for the home purchase that outline the terms of the zero percent interest mortgage.
Thursday’s celebration coincided with Earth Day in order to recognize the efforts taken on the home to reduce future energy consumption and costs.
“We wanted to pause on Earth Day to encourage Fuller Centers around the world and others to build energy-efficient and appropriate homes,” Lyman-Barner said. “And we want to honor Chuck and Thad.”
“Earth Day means something now,” Harris said. “It’s got a real true meaning. With the house being so energy-efficient, I understand more than I ever did.”
The home already received the highest rating–gold–for the rough-in inspection for green building standards from the National Homebuilders Association Research Center.
The walls and ceilings are made of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS), an insulating system that cuts future energy costs dramatically. The roof is a light color and reflective to keep the home cooler. Energy-Star rated windows and doors were installed and the Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system is super-efficient.
The homeowners were also honored with Bibles, prayer, music and time to share and give thanks. Goldie Burts, Harris’ mother, led the group in a song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Americus Mayor Barry Blount opened the ceremony with prayer and President of The Fuller Center for Housing, Inc. David Snell gave a blessing.
Project manager, Thomas McFarland spoke about Thad’s congregation coming out to support him.
“You might think he’s limited, because he’s in a wheelchair,” McFarland said. “But if you know him, you know there are no limits, but the ones we put on ourselves.”
Harris addressed the crowd on behalf of himself and Davis.
“We’re strong, but we’re limited at certain things,” he said. “In doing this, y’all have made us independent. You don’t know how much you’ve blessed us by doing this, so thank you.”
• Read a feature article on The Fuller Center’s green building projects around the country
• Read a Q and A session with Kirk Lyman-Barner on the benefits of green building
• Contact your local covenant partner about starting a green building project in your community
• Read a letter by Millard Fuller on incorporating green building in The Fuller Center’s mission