20 Facts for 20 Years: Our Work in New Orleans

In honor of Global Green USA's 20th anniversary this year, we compiled 20 facts about the organization's work in New Orleans: History

1. Global Green’s New Orleans office was established in 2006 after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate response of the U.S. Government. The organization made a commitment to sustainable building in the New Orleans region and is here to stay. Four years after Katrina, TIME magazine said, “No organization is doing more to green New Orleans than Global Green USA.”

Holy Cross Project

Holy Cross Project Community Development & Climate Action Center Rendering


Pam Dashiell

2. In the summer of 2006, Global Green hosted an international design competition chaired by actor and activist Brad Pitt for its green model village in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. The project was designed to include five LEED Platinum Homes, a Community Development and Climate Action Center and affordable apartments with rain gardens and shared outdoor space.

3. The Pam Dashiell Visitor Center, named in honor of the community activist who founded the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, is the first home completed, and has educated over 25,000 visitors since it opened in May 2008.

4. The average monthly Entergy bill (including electricity and gas) of Holy Cross Project homeowners is less than $30.

Green Schools

5. Global Green's two Model Green Schools, Wilson Charter and L.B. Landry H.S., received LEED Gold and LEED Silver designations, respectively, thanks to technical assistance from Global Green. In addition, our four Green Seed Schools—A.P. Tureaud, MLK Charter, The International School and Gentilly Terrace—are each saving an average of $23,000 annually due to energy efficiency upgrades.

Gentilly Terrace green classroom


International Engagement

6. In October 2007, Global Green USA hosted the Green Cross International General Assembly in New Orleans to show the world the state of the city two years post-Katrina, bringing much international attention to the region. Green Cross Founder Mikhail Gorbachev and delegates from over 20 countries visited the Lower 9th Ward and other parts of the city, including a stop at The International School.

Policy and Initiatives

7. Global Green drafted Green Building and Green Schools Resolutions for the City Council, each of which was passed unanimously, in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The Green Building Resolution was elevated to a Green Building Ordinance in 2007, including such requirements as adoption of voluntary, New Orleans-based green standards for buildings.

8. Global Green assisted the City of New Orleans in becoming one of 25 Solar American Cities, securing a $200,000 Solar American City grant and technical assistance from the Department of Energy for the City.

9. Global Green was instrumental in creating and leading The Green Collaborative, a group of over 140 businesses, nonprofits, and other entities concerned with developing a green economy, and producing policy documents such as the Green Platform for New Orleans’ Mayor and Council in 2010 and a Declaration of Energy Dependence after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Residential Energy Efficiency

10. Build It Back Green, which ran from 2008 to 2011, reached over 20,000 New Orleans residents through community workshops and events, one-on-one green building technical consultations, and home energy assessments and weatherizations.

Building Performance Institute (BPI) training for veterans


11. In 2011, the success of BIBG led to Global Green administering NOLA Wise, a residential energy efficiency and job training program funded through the Department of Energy. NOLA Wise put a total of 42 total contractors, veterans, and disadvantaged youth through Building Performance Institute (BPI) training and was the first entity to require BPI certification of its contractors.

12. NOLA Wise single-family retrofits are responsible for 763,170 kilowatt hours of annual household electricity savings and over 1 million dollars in revenue for local, small business contractors.

13. NOLA Wise merged with EnergySmart, the utility’s energy efficiency program in September, 2013, bringing together the Mayor's energy efficiency program and the City Council's energy efficiency program to provide a true one-stop shop for Orleans Parish residents.

Education and Outreach

NOLA WIse energy efficiency program outreach

14. Global Green’s New Orleans Green Building Resource Center was named “Best Recovery Resource” by the Neighborhood Partnership Network in 2010.

15. Also in 2010, Global Green installed Green Building information centers in the City’s Building Permits and Planning offices. These installations include flyers on green building methods and materials and are kept stocked by the Mayor's Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs.

16. In a six-year partnership with USGBC Louisiana and AIA New Orleans, the local office has hosted over 50 Sustainability Series events including presentations and discussions on green building and landscaping, water management, energy efficiency, energy tax credits, urban farming, and other issues of environmental concern.

17. In conjunction with EnergySmart, the NOLA Wise team has delivered 136 Energy Kits to Orleans Parish middle school students. The Energy Kit program teaches students about energy efficiency and helps to address efficiency at home by giving students CFLs, sink aerators, and a low-flow showerhead.

18. In 2013, Water Wise—a water efficiency and storm water management adjunct to NOLA Wise—was launched, providing education and referrals to homeowners and businesses about water resources. The success of the initial program led to the development of numerous partnerships and opportunities to reach into schools and communities.


Louisiana Wetlands Action Program (LWAP) collaborates with LSU on blue carbon documentary


19. Launched in 2010, Global Green's Louisiana Wetland Action Program (LWAP) engages landowners, cumulatively owning 180,000 acres of coastal wetlands in Southeastern Louisiana, about opportunities for coastal restoration, with a focus on blue carbon, the CO2 sequestered in wetland soils and vegetation.

20. LWAP is collaborating with LSU scientists to determine the feasibility of blue carbon projects by monitoring black mangroves in Port Fourchon, and is working on a blue carbon documentary to be completed this year.

Follow @NOLAWise on Twitter for New Orleans updates and energy efficiency tips. Follow #WetlandsWednesday on Twitter for wetlands news and project updates.