In 2011, the success of our Build it Back Green program led to Global Green administering NOLA Wise, a residential energy efficiency and job training program funded through the Department of Energy. NOLA Wise was one of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Consortium of WISE (Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) cities under the national Better Buildings Grant Program.

The program aimed to increase energy efficiency in New Orleans’ existing building stock by providing a low-interest energy efficiency loan product, training local energy raters and contractors, guiding home and business owners through the process of retrofitting their buildings, and providing incentives to homeowners who reached at least 15% energy savings.

Global Green leveraged this opportunity to implement an apprenticeship program in partnership with Louisiana Green Corps (LAGC), to place Corps Members (16-24 year old youths from the Greater New Orleans region) in jobs with NOLA Wise energy efficiency contractors. In total, NOLA Wise provided scholarships to 42 people for Building Performance Institute training, including local contractors, 2 veterans, and 10 LAGC members.

The NOLA Wise program completed 170 single family retrofits that will save a combined total of 763,170 kilowatt hours of energy per year for these families.  These kilowatt hours equate to an average 26% energy reduction in each home and will save a total of $119,606 on the households' utility bills annually. NOLA Wise helped grow the now booming energy efficiency and solar market in New Orleans, before the program began, there were no BPI Certified contractors in the city and the price of energy efficiency improvements was higher than the national average due to lack of expert contractors and materials available in the region.

The successes and lessons learned of the NOLA Wise program also helped shape the now state-wide energy efficiency rebate program. NOLA Wise continues serve as an educational resource for New Orleans area homeowners providing advice and guidance on implementing energy efficiency in their homes. Residents can visit our Holy Cross Visitor Center to see energy efficiency and green building in action.

Robyn MuniciComment