NOLA GBRC January 2010 Newsletter

Greetings from our New Orleans Green Building Resource Center

Resilient and Sustainable Building - An Ethical Imperative

What an incredible time to be a New Orleanian - change and opportunity are all around us.  With the Saints on the verge of their first Superbowl appearance, a brand new Mayor and City Council on the horizon, and our annual Mardi Gras celebration of life rapidly approaching fever pitch, there are many days when the horrors of Katrina seems a lifetime away. 

This past week's devastation of Haiti reminds us, however, that natural disaster can strike any where at any time, and that poorly constructed buildings can destroy countless lives in a moment's time.  We in New Orleans know that Haiti's rebuilding effort, just like ours, must focus on being as resilient and sustainable as possible in order to protect people from future harm.  One statistical comparison in particular shocked me in considering the human toll of poor quality construction: although the full number of Haitians killed in last week's 7.0 magnitude earthquake will never be known, estimates are that tens of thousands were killed, most from being crushed in collapsing buildings.  An earthquake of the exact same magnitude that struck near San Francisco in 1989 killed a reported 63 people in an area that has had strict earthquake-safe construction standards for many years. 

Although the need to provide immediate shelter for the huge numbers of survivors is imperative, it is vital that the long term rebuilding of Haiti place resilience and sustainability at the top of the agenda, not as an afterthought.  By making sustainable rebuilding a high priority, we help prevent catastrophic suffering and death - and extreme economic cost - when another natural disaster occurs in the future.

~ Beth Galante


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. With special thanks to our good friends at Whole Foods Market, Atchafalaya Restaurant, and Sucre for their generous support.

This month's panel discussion, hosted by the United States Green Building Council, LA Chapter:

 GreeNola: A Strategy for a Sustainable New Orleans

Wednesday, January 20th
5:30pm to 7:30 pm
AIA New Orleans Center for Design 
1000 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

John Moore will speak to the group about the City of New Orleans' plan for sustainable redevelopment through the GreeNola: A Strategy for a Sustainable New Orleans program. GreeNola is a resource for New Orleans neighborhoods and residents to engage in the master planning process of the City and to ensure sustainable redevelopment. John will also address the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka “stimulus package”) on the redevelopment of the City of New Orleans.

A copy of the GreeNola plan can be found here: GreeNola

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

For more information, please contact Heidi Jensen at our Green Building Resource Center:[email protected], and see our website here: for the latest on this and past panel discussions. 

Green Tax Credits and Rebates Workshop
Tuesday, January 26, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Broadmoor Improvement Association Offices
4520 S Derbigny St., New Orleans, LA.

Have you ever wondered what sort of incentives there are to go green? Not only can you save money on your electricity bill by going green, but you can also take advantage of rebates and tax credits as well. Join Global Green for a Tax Credit Workshop at the Broadmoor Improvement Association’s office, and learn more about how to Build It Back Green, New Orleans!

Build It Back Green events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, please contact Becki Chall at our Green Building Resource Center:[email protected] or visit the Build It Back Green calendar here: for information on this and past events.

OPT-OUT of Yellow Pages: Reduce Forest, Carbon and Money Waste is an organization working to educate consumers and promote the green movement to eliminate the unsolicited delivery of Yellow and White Pages books. This site is aimed at starting a national movement to solicit the White/Yellow Pages industry to proactively stop the delivery of books or to begin moving legislation to mandate the stoppage of this activity. This movement should be similar to the National No-Call Registry that have stopped and/or decreased the number of unwanted solicitations telephone calls to consumers.

For more information and to OPT-OUT of receiving unnecessary phone books, please see here:Yellow Pages Opt Out

Local Green: Celebrating a Sustainable New Orleans

Join us as we seek out and celebrate New Orleans' neighborhood organizations and establishments actively participating in the sustainability of our community through everyday green practices.

This month, we feature our good friends at EcoUrban, a sustainable landscaping company dedicated to greening New Orleans.

As members of the New Orleans community, we all share the same environmental risks. Through native & edible garden designs, organic landscape practices, cistern rain harvest technology, and artisan compost & soil production, EcoUrban facilitates adaptation to regional environmental challenges while adding value and beauty to the homes and communities.

We invite you to visit their new website offering you immediate educational resources--check out "how-to" lectures on sustainability in your landscape, articles written in local publications, and links to outside resources:

Together, we are Building Urban Sustainability, One Yard at a Time!

Green Schools/Green Students
by Emily Herrington

Emily Herrington, a senior at Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jefferson Parish, recently wrote to tell us about her senior project, "Can an energy efficiency campaign for the high school market work to improve the environment?" To find the answer she completed an internship at a weatherization company and surveyed the entire student body about their energy use. Her findings were impressive and we thought you might enjoy reading her summary and survey results.

Why is it necessary to ask your teenager multiple times to make his or her bed, put his dish away, or turn out that light before he or she actually does it? I admit that I have a hard time understanding why it is so crucial to the well-being of the world that I make my bed every morning. As a parent, you probably get frustrated with your teen, wondering why he or she doesn’t care about anything—but that’s not true. We do care; we just care about things that we believe are important. Though I am still working on the made-bed concept, I have learned why I should turn off my light when I’m not in the room and other seemingly pointless tasks that actually can save the fate of the planet.

One of the many keys to unlocking the prison known as high school before being released into the vast abyss of the “real world” is called Senior Project. Somewhere along the senior project development road, my topic became energy efficiency. “Boring enough,” I thought, “Let’s just get this over with.” As my project progressed, I had an epiphany: this stuff really matters! It really can improve the wellbeing of the planet. Energy efficiency is a win-win deal. When less energy is used, less is wasted, less power plants need to be built to meet the demands of energy usage, leading to less pollution and contamination, leading to a cleaner, healthier, happier, better environment.

With my newfound state of mind I began to wonder what my peers know about energy and the environment and if they live efficiently. I asked about their energy-related habits through a survey distributed to all students at my school.  A few participants responded with answers like, “Saving energy is important because it saves my parents money.” While this is true, and I hate to break it to you Mom and Dad, but the fact that saving energy saves you money is not going to inspire teen activism.  Several replied by questioning what would happen when we run out of nonrenewable resources. Another said, “Saving energy is not hard and only takes one person to make a difference.” This kid just summed up my whole project in one sentence.

At the end of my survey I published a tips and fact sheet. Several students approached me asking questions—“is it true that standby power uses up to 75% of the energy it uses when fully on?” “Does every gallon of gas really cost 20 cents more for every 5 mph over 60 mph?” When I told them yes, I could actually see the glow of the light bulb going off in their heads. Now that these teens are aware, they are inspired to make a change.

My senior project completely changed my attitude and my habits as well. I went from being disappointed with my “lame” topic to being an advocate of energy efficiency. I cannot leave my room with my light on without a guilty thought in the back of my head that doesn’t silence until I walk back and turn off my light. Energy efficiency is easy and good for everyone and everything —spread the word!

Some highlights from Emily’s energy saving tips:

Turn your computer and other appliances OFF, not on standby. Standby power uses up to 75% of the energy it uses when fully on. Every year, Americans spend $4 billion in energy bills on standby power. This is a WASTE!
Tell your parents to buy fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Fluorescent bulbs generate light, not heat. They provide the same amount of light and last longer. Fluorescent bulbs use 30% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
Plant trees around your house! They can serve as a natural windbreaker and provide shade, which means the air conditioner can run less. In fact, the amount of shade and cooling produced by one healthy tree is the same as 10 air conditioners that run 20 hours a day.
If you are a driver, drive sensibly. Not only is driving sensibly safe, but it helps your wallet and the environment. Speeding and rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by 33%. For each 5 mph over 60 mph, each gallon of gas costs you 20 cents more! Driving sensibly can save you 200 gallons a year and can save the environment up to 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Also, carpool when possible.
For more energy efficiency tips and green building advice, see our Build It Back Green website  or drop by our Green Building Resource Center at 841 Carondelet Street, featured here: GBRC in NOLA

Volunteer with Global Green

Ready to lend a hand to green New Orleans? Now's the time to join the Build it Back Green Ambassador Corps! Sign up today and you can help us weatherize homes and get the word out about energy efficiency. No experience necessary! Email [email protected]

Our first Ambassador Corps training will be January 30th at our Holy Cross Project Visitor Center, 409 Andry Street, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Your Support Makes the Difference!

Please consider becoming a part of rebuilding a more sustainable New Orleans with your membership here: Support New Orleans

Thank you.

Global Green USA is the only national environmental non-profit headquartered in Southern California with offices in New Orleans, Washington DC, and New York, and is one of 31 national Green Cross International affiliates throughout the world. For more information about the work we do visit our website at

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. Through our green affordable housing community the Holy Cross Project, and our work on greening schools throughout the area, Global Green is committed to creating a green model for development and rebuilding for New Orleans; educating NOLA residents, the Gulf Coast and broader American public about the benefits of green building; and advancing smart solutions to global warming that both benefit communities and engage stakeholders in building will for action.