NOLA GBRC February 2010 Newsletter

Greetings from our New Orleans Green Building Resource Center

Louisiana's green economy needs your help this week - can you make a quick phone call or send an email?

Our state has outstanding potential to generate tens of thousands of new jobs and create hundreds of strong small businesses in the emerging green economy.  Even with virtually no direct capital investment and no government assistance, Louisiana's green economy grew at the incredible rate of almost 20% from 1998 to 2007, with more than 10,000 jobs and 1000 small businesses, compared to only 3% statewide job growth overall.  The time has now come for our government to do its job to support this new economy.   In particular, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC)  which regulates all energy prices in the state except New Orleans, needs to step up this week on regulations to require energy companies to invest some of their ratepayers' dollars in renewable energy businesses and jobs, just like 37 other states already have.  Known as a"Renewable Portfolio Standard," or "RPS," this regulation is designed to signal to investors and businesses that government is committed to clean energy development for the long-term, so they in turn will commit to building the clean energy infrastructure and hiring the workers to meet the RPS.

This is not a partisan issue - it is an economic one.  Without a strong RPS for Louisiana, we will continue to lag in economic development and fall further behind other states that are investing in renewable energy and reaping the job and tax benefits. Take the example of Texas and wind power:  after Louisiana's government passed on a wind company's request to support development of our state's offshore wind resources in 2005, the same company got an enthusiastic welcome from Texas officials. That company's efforts, and others, have paid off:  Texas is now the largest wind producer in the nation, and the 6th largest producer in the world, with millions of dollars of investment in Texas in construction jobs and infrastructure paving the way for Texas to reap $100s of millions in wind royalties, leases and taxes in the decades to come, as well as 1000s of quality jobs.  Republican state representative Warren Chisum, a former oil man, best stated the vital role of a strong RPS:  "Texas’ wind industry would not be what it is today if the state had not put in place an aggressive renewable portfolio standard and other public policy measures 10 years ago." 

Louisiana's citizens deserve our share of these jobs and businesses, and the stability and eventually lower utility costs that multiple energy options provide. 

Please contact the Louisiana Public Service Commissioners  (info below) BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 and ask that they vote in an RPS that includes:

1) A binding requirement for 20% of our energy from renewable sources by the year 2020 - we already get almost 4% of our power from renewables, and the LPSC's proposed 12.5% by 2025 is so weak as to be virtually meaningless - and far too weak to support economic development in the state, especially when many other states are eagerly embracing RPS at the 20/2020 or stronger level to drive their own economic prosperity.

2)  No coal or nuclear power  - dirty and dangerous energy has no place in the new green economy, especially when Louisiana has abundant solar, wind, water, geothermal and biomass resources just waiting to be harvested that are clean and safe.  Louisiana's citizens should not have to pay for expensive research and testing of ways to clean up coal either - let states that use coal for most of their energy foot that bill.

3)  Independence from Entergy - energy companies generally make impressive profits maintaining the status quo, or moving an RPS into areas that they already invest in (notably, Entergy Corporation's 4th quarter net income rose 84 percent, to $314 million, in the last three months of 2009).  Energy companies should not be making energy policy, which is designed to protect all Louisianan's pocketbooks.  The current LPSC proposal closely mimics Entergy's proposal for an RPS - a serious warning sign that our public officials are not making independent decisions in the public's best interest.

Eric Skrmetta – District 1 (Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes, the North Shore, most of Jefferson Parish, the Lakeview neighborhood in New Orleans) Contact: Executive Assistant Ann Rasmussen, Phone: (504) 846-6930 email: [email protected]

JimmyField – District 2 (The Feliciana Parishes, much of Baton Rouge, and south-central Louisiana including Lafayette) Contact: Consumer Specialist Peggy Lantrip, Phone: 225-342-6900 email: [email protected]

LambertBoissiere III – District 3 (Most of New Orleans, parts of Jefferson Parish, the River Parishes, part of Baton Rouge) Phone: 504-680-9529 email: [email protected]

Clyde Holloway – District 4 (central and southwest Louisiana, including Lake Charles)
Contact: Cindy Carter, Phone: 318-748-4715 email: [email protected]

Foster Campbell – District 5 (northern Louisiana, including Shreveport and Monroe)
Phone: 318-676-7464 email: [email protected]

Our friends at the Alliance for Affordable Energy have been closely watching the RPS process, and can provide much more detail.  Visit them here: All4Energy.org or e-mail questions to Communications Director Christian Roselund at [email protected].

~ Beth Galante


 February 2010 Panel Discussion

Global Green is proud to partner with the American Institute of Architects, New Orleans Chapter and the U.S. Green Building Council-Louisiana Chapter to present a monthly panel discussion series on issues of sustainability in the built environment.

 As we greet the springtime in New Orleans, this month's panel topic is Sustainable Landscaping and Gardening for Our Region, and will include presentations by local sustainable landscape professional Demetria Christo of EcoUrban, LLC  and community organizers with Our School at Blair Grocery.

We'll discuss native & edible garden designs, organic landscape practices, cistern rain harvest technology, urban gardening and composting for your home, business and community. Join us for a discussion to further inform and inspire all of us to bring positive environmental change to our own backyards.

New Orleans Green Building Resource Center
Wednesday, February 24th
5:30pm to 7:30pm
841 Carondelet Street
New Orleans, LA

Panel discussions are free and open to the public. Light organic refreshments will be served beginning at 5:30pm, panel presentation at 6pm. AIA Continuing Education Credits apply.

Very special thanks to our great friends at Whole Foods Marketand Atchafalaya Restaurant for their support.

For more information on this and past panel discussions, please see the Global Green USA website here:http://globalgreen.org/events/13 or contact Heidi Jensen at our New Orleans Resource Center[email protected]


VOTE To Help Transform Blighted Lots in New Orleans to Beautiful Urban Gardens

Project Sprout, which shares Global Green's mission to improve the built environment in New Orleans, has an opportunity to win $25,000 that would go towards removing blight in New Orleans neighborhoods. GTECH Strategies, a partner in Project Sprout, is involved in the Pepsi Refresh project, an online voting platform whereby Pepsi is giving away $1.3 million per month to social enterprises. Right now, GTECH stands to win $50,000 in February if they can move up at least 4 spots in the rankings (they are currently ranked 14th and the top 10 get funding), and half of this money would come to New Orleans in support of Project Sprout.

Project Sprout is a joint-venture between two Echoing Greenfellows from the class of 2008, Green Coast Enterprises (GCE), a New Orleans-based green real estate company, and GTECH Strategies (GTECH), a vacant land management social enterprise based in Pittsburgh, PA.  Project Sprout has adapted GTECH’s innovative and successful model to the unique circumstances of New Orleans, by emphasizing vacant land reclamation and green jobs development. This model is coupled with GCE’s innovative real estate practice to create a joint venture that provides unique solutions for community revitalization.

GTECH’s bioenergy gardens grow sunflowers on local vacant lots to reduce blight, engage community, phytoremediate contaminants, and create a biofuel feedstock. This transitional strategy provides a platform for more productive vacant land use such as parks, urban food gardens, and building development. Project Sprout projects will use this premise to transition vacant land into opportunities for redevelopment in communities devastated by lack of investment.

Your vote can help. Go to the link below (up to once a day through February 28th) and please tell your networks about this project and ask them to vote as well. With your help, we can bring much needed resources to blight removal in New Orleans!

For more information and to VOTE, click here: Refresh Everything


Building Resilience Workshop - February 25-27

The challenge of living with water is one shared by cities and communities around the world.  Nowhere is this more true than in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, where people live with a daily awareness of the threat, and opportunity, of water. 

As a call to address the threats and opportunities of living with water, the workshop Building Resilience: Implementing Innovative, Sustainable Flood Mitigation Solutions for the Gulf Coast will convene in New Orleans on February 26 & 27

Featuring keynote speaker Gen. Russel Honore', local and global practitioners, policy-makers and community stakeholders are invited to share best practices and initiate community action and policy plans for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.

Seeking to broaden two vital dialogues in this region: the sharing with local practitioners of innovative flood mitigation techniques currently in practice in Europe, and the sharing with local community stakeholders and policy makers of successful strategies for overcoming administrative obstacles and implementing new, sustainable solutions that promote community resilience.

Convening partners and panelists: the American Institute of Architects New Orleans Chapter; the Applied Technology Council; the Buoyant Foundation Project; FutureProof, LLC;Global Green; Groundwork New Orleans; Innovative Green Solutions; the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development; Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration, LLC; the Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology at UNO; Our School at Blair Grocery; the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy; and the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Ontario, Canada. 

Registration is $225 in advance and $250 at the door, if space permits.  Advanced registration is highly recommended as space is limited. Applications for reduced registration fees from those in need.

To register and view complete information, visit www.resilienceworkshop.org.  Professional development credits will be available for the AIA, LAPELS and possibly the USGBC.