Holy Cross Project in New Orleans

Holy Cross Rendering


Help New Orleans rebuild green following Hurricane Katrina by building a sustainable neighborhood with affordable housing and a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the devastating storm. View project infographic.


After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate response of the US Government, Global Green USA made a dedicated commitment to sustainable building in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As part of that commitment, Global Green, in partnership with Brad Pitt, sponsored an international design competition during the summer of 2006. The Holy Cross Project was designed for five single-family homes, an 18-unit apartment building, and a community center/sustainable design and climate action center. The goal of the project was to achieve LEED Platinum standards (LEED for Home for the single family homes and LEED ND for the other buildings).


We received more than 125 entries competing to design a zero energy affordable housing development in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen of Workshop/apd in New York created the winning design. With the support of Lead Funding Partner Home Depot Foundation, Global Green worked with workshop/apd and a dedicated and highly skilled team of sustainable design and building experts together with the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association to translate the winning development proposal into a reality. More about the competition.

Design Competition


By using solar panels, high performance building design, HVAC systems, a Building Dashboard(R) energy and resource monitoring systems, and energy-efficient appliances, the buildings in the Holy Cross Project use at least 75% less energy than typical buildings.

COMPLETE - Single Family Homes: The first home, finished in May 2008, currently serves as a Visitor Center for developers, contractors, and residents to learn how to rebuild green. The remaining four LEED Platinum homes were sold to local residents in 2012 and save the residents an estimated $1200 to $2400 a year in utility bills. Using advanced monitoring systems in the home, residents can see their energy and resource consumption in real time, and if they choose, modify their behavior to further lower energy costs. Modest homeowner association fees allow for residents to turn to the project manager to ensure the rain water harvesting, geothermal, solar and other systems are maintained properly and will continue to maximize savings.

Holy Cross Project Homes

CURRENT PHASE - Community Center: The Community Development and Climate Action Center, currently under construction, will feature a community services (e.g., ATM, fresh food market, etc.), a Visitor’s and Green Building Resource Center, an arts and cultural component, and an emergency center. For emergency needs, a rain water harvesting system will collect water (with filtration bringing it to drinking water standards), and solar panels on the roof of the Center will charge batteries that will provide power for emergency refrigeration (for medicines, etc.), lights and mobile phones in case residents are left without power or are unable to evacuate in an emergency.

Community Center

18-Unit Apartment Building: The green affordable housing building will include outstanding views of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans, 75% to 90% lower energy bills and all the benefits healthy indoor air quality. These restricted income units will make it possible for low income residents and families to enjoy these unique apartments. Global Green USA will seek applications from displaced residents of the 9th Ward.

Sustainable Design and Climate Action Institute: As a centerpiece of the project and Global Green’s ongoing presence in New Orleans, the institute would be a "Center of Excellence" for the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast that demonstrate all aspects of green building appropriate for the climate zone, while providing opportunities for sharing knowledge across the United States, and even globally. This will also be a gathering place for information, knowledge, and leadership generated by the sustainable design and green building activity in and around New Orleans and the response to Hurricane Katrina. University and research institute alliances will tie academic and professional programs tied to its ongoing work and focus. The monitoring of the buildings will also allow the institute to study the performance energy systems, energy conservation, IAQ, water efficiency, and system monitoring.

Outdoor Space:
 The interior courtyard will provide an outdoor gathering area for residents. A pathway through the project to the Mississippi River will have an interpretative learning component and children’s education area that connect to the river levee, community center, visitor’s center, and other sustainable landscaping features such as stormwater runoff capture and cisterns. These elements will be tied to the Visitor’s Center and be part of the experience for those that come to see the project.


Holy Cross Project photos on Flickr

Blog posts on the Holy Cross Project


The Global Green Holy Cross Project Visitor Center in the Lower Ninth Ward conducts tours for visitors to see and learn about the home's green elements and systems: reclaimed wood floors, Energy Star appliances, solar power, and geo-thermal, tankless water heater, rainwater catchment, rain gardens, green roof, and more.

Please call504-525-2121to schedule a tour.

ADDRESS: 409 Andry St., New Orleans, LA


Owner – Global Green USA: Matt Petersen, Walker Wells, Elizabeth Galante, Monica Gilchrist, Ruben Aronin, John Moore, Douglas and Andry Sustainable Building, LLC

Designer – Workshop/apd

Architect of Record - John C. Williams Architects, LLC

Landscape Designer – D.I.R.T Studio

Senior Advisor – Bob Berkebile / BNIM

Developer – Kathy Laborde, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

Development Consultants – Matt Smith/CMC Enterprise, Carlton Brown/Full Spectrum of NY, LLC

Landscape Architect – Carlos Cashio, LLC

Contractor – Landis Construction Co., LLC

MEP Engineers – Supersymmetry USA, Moses Engineering

Structural Engineer – Morphy Makofsy, Inc

Civil Engineer – Julien Engineering

Energy Consultant – Think Energy, Inc

Building Science Consultant – Building Science Corporation


Holy Cross Project Sponsor

Mohawk Industries – FSC Certified Wood Flooring

Holy Cross Project Supporter

Caroma USA – Dual Flush Toilets  

Columbia Forest Products – PureBond Kitchen Cabinets & Bathroom Vanities

Holy Cross Project Friend

CertainTeed & Huntsman – Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Delta Faucet Company – Low-Flow Faucets

Edgefield Lumber Co./BluWood – Borate Treated Wood Products

Daltile – Recycled Content Tile Flooring

Posted In: neworleans

Tags: new orleans holy cross project rebuilding green in new orleans global green in new orleans

Global Green Selects First Solar
for Sandy Partner

Marking the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy that devastated communities.
In the Green Room
Our interview with a NOLA Wise contractor.
AB Greening Camden
Our Green Urbanism team is helping with a community project.
View all news

Year-End Reflections
While everyone seems to be making their best-of lists for 2012, below are some highlights of Global Green USA’s work from the past year...
Seeking Citizen Sandy: Call for Ideas
Community Action in New Orleans
Return to the City of Joy
View all posts