Maddie Brechtel & Caitlin Farmer Feb 21, 2022 Updated Feb 23, 2022 The Red & Black

On Friday morning Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp commended the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity “Build With Strength” home, built using insulating concrete forms meant to combat climate change.

ICFs are described as being rigid blocks of insulation that stack like oversized LEGO bricks, forming two layers of exterior framing, according to a press release about the event. 

They are not removed after the concrete has hardened. The Portland Cement Association described them as “strong and energy efficient,” with a range of common applications for various types of properties. 

The event began around 8 a.m. with speeches from Kemp, Girtz,  Athens Area Habitat executive director Spencer Frye and Jimmy Cotty, the executive director of the Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association. At around 10:30 a.m., the concrete pour began with many members of parties involved in the construction and building process in attendance, as well as community members and the homeowner. 

“It really is this persistence that’s kept Athens at the forefront of not only concern for one another, but the kind of innovation that you see represented by this insulated pour behind us,” Girtz said. 

Athens Area Habitat was one of 16 affiliates chosen to assist in building these homes. Athens Area Habitat develops and builds the homes and then sells them to the new homeowners who then pay their mortgage to Athens Area Habitat, Frye said. 

“I’ve been involved in building and construction for a long time here in this local community and also been part of the whole affordable housing conversation and it’s a hard thing to figure out,” Gov. Kemp said.