New Accolades In New Orleans

The kudos for Make It Right New Orleans, the post-Hurricane Katrina housing initiative launched by Brad Pitt, continue to roll in. Recently, the USGBC declared the neighborhood being built under the initiative to be "the largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world." The initiative is a collaboration between Pitt, entrepreneur Steve Bing, Graft architects, nonprofit foundation Cherokee Gives Back, and William McDonough + Partners.

Make It Right has completed 13 LEED Platinum-certified homes and is building at least 150 storm-resistant, LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward neighborhood, a region severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Fifty homes are scheduled to be completed by December 2009.

Sustainable features of the homes include solar power, geother-mal heating and cooling systems, tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, and efficient lighting. The homes also include storm-resistance features such as 5-foot or 8-foot elevations to protect the structure from flooding; impact-resistant glass or hurricane fabric to protect windows; rooftop access; and mold-free paperless dry wall.

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi noted, "In facing our nation's unprecedented economic and environmental crises, we must change the way the places in which we live, work, learn, and play are built and operated. What we're seeing with green building goes beyond energy-efficiency to transformation of entire communities—and the lives of the people who live there. Make It Right has proved that green building can be both affordable and high performing."

Architect Recognized

K3 Kansas City, Kan.-based architect Robert Berkebile, principal of BNIM Architects, was awarded a $100,000 Heinz Award for his work promoting green building design. A founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Berkebile also is the founding chairman of the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment. He is one of 10 recipients of a Heinz award for 2009.

The Heinz Awards are given from the Heinz Family Foundation in memory of former Senator John Heinz. In the past, the awards recognized recipients in five categories. This year, the awards focused on the environment and named 10 individuals who have worked to bring about a more sustainable planet. Individuals are put forth for consideration by a council of anonymous nominators. Award recipients then are selected by the Heinz Awards' board of directors. In addition to the $100,000 prize, each winner receives a medallion at a private ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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