Build It Back Green

Build It Back Green (BIBG) was one of the first programs launched by Global Green USA in New Orleans after committing to help New Orleans rebuild green following Hurricane Katrina. From 2008 through 2011, the BIBG outreach program provided residents of New Orleans with free and trustworthy technical assistance and education on how to make their homes more energy-efficient, storm-resistant, and healthier -- and to help them save on energy costs and reduce their carbon footprints. 

The program created a comprehensive Green Vendor Directory of green products and where to find them. In addition green building fact sheets included important information about specific materials and techniques as well as statewide and federal incentives for green building.

BIBG also helped low income homeowners through Home Energy Assessments (HEAs),  Technical Assists (TAs), and Weatherizations:

  • HEAs: Consisted of a home walkthrough by Global Green technical staff and review of findings with the homeowner using a prioritized checklist. Staff members completed a visual inspection of the home, including attic and crawlspace, checking a number of factors that determine energy use and loss in the home. The results of the HEA were communicated to the homeowner, along with a copy of the notated checklist. The document suggests prioritized actions the homeowner could take to improve the indoor air quality of the home and lower utility bills. Additionally, the homeowner was provided with a Home Energy Use Manual, which includes tips on behavioral changes that can result in significant energy savings; and a list of local nonprofits that offer various weatherization services and assistance. BIBG completed 162 HEAs from 2010-2011. 
  • TAs:  Technical assists took place when BIBG staff assisted residents with a specific technical question or gave advice on measures the resident could take to save energy, water, and money. A total of 477 TAs were recorded from 2009-2011.
  • Weatherizations: Global Green technical staff completed an HEA before each weatherization project, which identified the measures BIBG staff would take to increase the energy efficiency of the home. Global Green staff completed the installation of those measures, including caulking windows and doors, sealing leaky air ducts, insulating pipes and water heaters, and installing compact fluorescent light bulbs as well as radiant barrier. Twenty-five weatherizations werecompleted 2009-2011.

By 2010 the BIBG program and the Green Building Resource Center had reached more than 20,000 residents through community workshops, events, one-on-one green building technical consultations, and on-site home energy assessments. That same year the Green Building Resource Center was named “Best Recovery Resource” by Neighborhood Partnership Network.


Shirley Johnigan

Shirley Johnigan

Home Weatherization Case Study:

New Orleans homeowner Shirley Johnigan was distraught over high utility bills, which averaged nearly $400 a month, even though her income was 80% below the Area Median Income.

The year before Hurricane Katrina struck and flooded her house with 10 feet of water, Ms. Johnigan lost her husband.  While living in a FEMA trailer next to her home after Katrina, she suffered a minor stroke that left her face partially paralyzed.  On top of all these burdens, she now had to cope with high utility bills.

She sought help from Global Green’s Build it Back Green program.  BIBG team members Andrew Spaulding and Myron Warden visited Ms. Johnigan’s house and performed a Home Energy Assessment.  They also found a total lack of insulation in her attic, and substantial points of air leakage in her attic floor and ductwork.

Using a limited pool of weatherization funding available to assist select low income clients, BIBG performed small scale weatherization upgrades on Ms. Johnigan’s home.

After the work was performed, diagnostic testing showed a 40% average improvement in the energy efficiency of Ms. Johnigan’s home, which will have a significant impact on her ability to manage her monthly finances and live independently.

My kids said I should move into a senior citizens home. I said, well you know, I raised my children here, I love it here, I feel safe here, I love this neighborhood.
It means a lot Global Green would help me be able to stay here.
— Shirley Johnigan

Work Completed

  • Radiant barrier: stapled to the bottom of the roof rafters
  • Duct Sealing: decreased air leakage where the ducts start and end
    using UL 181 Foil-Faced hvac tape and Mastic
  • Air sealing: attic floor, inside home and crawlspace
  • Blocking for interior walls: stopped air Infiltration from the attic
    with duct board and foam 
  • Attic insulation: blown cellulose & fiberglass batts for attic kneewalls

Michelle Pyne1 Comment