The Holy Cross Project was born out of a high-profile Sustainable Design Competition that GGUSA held in 2006 with the leadership of jury chair Brad Pitt. GGUSA made the commitment to build the project—unique among the many “in theory only” design competitions. The goal of the Holy Cross Project is to serve as a model of sustainability by demonstrating resilient construction practices and clean energy technologies, and to serve as a catalyst for green workforce development.
Global Green’s sustainable village in the Lower 9th Ward boasts 5 completed LEED Platinum homes. The first home is serving as a Visitor Center and has educated over 25,000 people on a range of green building techniques. These homes were the first to be LEED Platinum Certified in the City of New Orleans. HCP’s homeowners are teachers, architects, and nonprofit professionals, all enthusiastic about living in the evolving Holy Cross Neighborhood. The Visitor Center was named in honor of the late Pam Dashiell, a passionate community advocate who helped make the Holy Cross Project a reality in the Lower Ninth Ward.
The second phase of the Holy Cross Project is currently under construction. The Community Development and Climate Action Center is a 6500 square foot high-performance green facility that will be energy and water efficient and equipped with solar electric panels and a rainwater cistern. The CDCAC will house Global Green’s offices, as well as a visitor center, community meeting space, retail space and passive survivability features (for first responders in case of future storms).
The Lower Ninth Ward is a perfect learning lab, including the Mississippi River, bayou Bienvenue, wetland triangle, industrial canal, etc. Visitors are able to experience many ecosystems within two square miles. The Holy Cross Project not only demonstrates sustainable building practices that save energy and water, but also green infrastructure on site including rain gardens, bioswale, rain barrels, and a green roof.
“One of the things I love is that my house is energy efficient and environmentally friendly which fits my values and New Orleans is short on those values, so I am happy I can contribute to the movement with my home”
— Rebecca, Holy Cross homeowner
One of our homeowners shared her experience with the City of New Orleans Assessor’s Office when she applied for her homestead exemption.
“One of the things they tell you to bring is your entergy (power) bill to prove that you live in the home and are using electricity. I showed them my bill and the woman was shocked at how low it was. She was suspicious that I didn’t really live in the house if my bill was that low. I told her that I have solar panels, and they keep my bill very low. She said she had never seen a bill that low, and didn’t know if they could accept it as proof that she lived in the house.
"After a little more explanation of my home and solar system, she finally gave in. That story made me laugh, and I immediately share it on Facebook. Sometimes I forget just how much lower my utility bills are than the average homeowner in New Orleans. I have some very jealous friends.”
Rebecca’s highest electric and gas (combined) bill was $29!