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Global Green USA Tours First Green Building Project in New Orleans Since Katrina

Global Green USA celebrated a milestone before the 2nd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by touring progress of their first affordable green home under construction. The Holy Cross project is one of the first new home construction projects to be built in the Lower 9th Ward. The home, whose solar panels will generate enough electricity to power the home, is expected to be LEED Platinum certified. It is being built with green products and energy efficient systems that will ultimately be included in the completed project of five single family homes, an 18 multi-unit apartment complex and a community center/Sustainable Design and Climate Action Institute. Brad Pitt (initial sponsor and chair of the sustainable design competition jury), Global Green USA and The Home Depot Foundation -- the project's lead funding partner -- toured the home with local community leaders and unveiled the final design for the project.

"What happened two years ago was a man made disaster, and this building offers a man made solution. This home proves we can build more thoughtfully, affordably and provide a better quality of life for the families within," said Brad Pitt.

Pam Dashiell, Past President of the Holy Cross Project and a member of the design jury that chose the architects for the development, praised the real progress in getting the house constructed: "We're so excited to see the progress of the initial construction that will serve as a model for the green rebuilding of the Lower 9th and all of New Orleans." It's wonderful to see actual building happening here, especially as we approach the second anniversary of the storm Katrina."

Board Cutting

Dashiell joined Brad Pitt, Kelly Caffarelli, President of The Home Depot Foundation, Architects Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen along with Global Green President Matt Petersen for the official "board cutting" ceremony prior to touring the first home that will be completed later this fall. The first home will initially serve as a visitor's center showcasing dozens of green products and systems that can be replicated throughout New Orleans to help save money, improve health and reduce climate emissions.

"While many of the smart design solutions will be invisible when the home is completed, the green materials we are showing today save homeowners money on their utility bills, improve the health of the residents -- by protecting against mold and poor indoor air quality -- and reduce environmental impact," said Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Global Green USA. "If 50,000 homes were rebuilt to just half the standards used in this home, residents would save up to $56 million and reduce global warming pollution by 550,000 tons each year."

Green Products

Displays of green products were arranged by five basic categories including: water conservation, energy conservation, natural resource conservation, indoor air quality and durability. Some of the eco-friendly features visible on the home tour include:
  • Solar Energy - Evergreen Solar ES-190 solar panels will be installed on every roof of the project. When completed, the solar panels will cover nearly 100% of the electricity needs of the house, creating a 'net zero energy' home.
  • FSC Wood and Bluwood - The framing wood is entirely Forest Stewardship Council certified, and is 'blue' because of the use of a proprietary 'Bluwood' nontoxic borate treatment that protects against mold, fungus and reduces the need to use toxic pesticides to frequently spray homes for termites.
  • Soy-Based Foam Insulation - This green product is made locally in New Orleans and is an agricultural-based product that requires fewer natural resources to manufacture. Spray Foam insulators are sprayed into wall spaces, expanding to fill every inch, preventing air leaks and increasing efficiency.
  • Wheat Board - Agricultural Fiber Board (particle board) is comparable to plywood and is used in millwork, furniture and flooring. Wheat board is an agricultural by-product otherwise sent to a landfill or incinerator, and is glued with toxic-free resins.
"We believe the Holy Cross project will serve as a model for how entire neighborhoods can be reshaped and strengthened through smart, green community design. The Home Depot Foundation is committed to the families of the Lower 9th Ward and this community for the long term," said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation, the lead funding partner for the project.

Designs Unveiled

The final design for the project's apartment complex and community center was unveiled at the event. Renderings of the final designs along with a Yahoo! designed virtual home tour with information about all green products used are available at

Later today, Global Green USA and The Home Depot Foundation will gather over 100 invited local and national leaders in green building, community development, and affordable housing for its "New Orleans Compact" Roundtable. Participants will refine the vision for Global Green's Sustainable Design and Climate Action institute. The roundtable will also help establish principles and specific actions needed to ensure lessons learned in the response to the rebuilding of New Orleans are retained, shared, and applied to other communities in need in the future.

Carbon offsets for the construction of the project originated from renewable energy credits generated by a Texas wind farm, and were generously donated by Think Energy, a member of the project team.

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