The USGBC just announced its 2010 Leadership Awards for green building and the Recovery School District in New Orleans is in the mix. Here's the announcement:
The Recovery School District received an award for its steadfast commitment to rebuilding healthy, high-performing schools for New Orleans community. Five years after the devastating hurricanes that ravaged New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, the District made rebuilding sustainably a priority, committing to build all public schools to a minimum of LEED Silver and reducing energy use by 30 percent. When phase one of the master plan is completed in 2013, there will be 17 new and 13 renovated LEED schools. The first of those schools opened in August 2009, with double-digit increases in test scores just in the past school year.
Above: L.B. Landry School in Algiers with solar hot water and other sustainable features. Congratulations to the district.
Green House — USA TODAY: U.S. homeowners will be able to get low-cost energy audits that rank a home's efficiency on a scale of one to 10 and get federally insured loans for upgrades, under an Obama administration plan to be announced today.
With the new Home Energy Score, consumers will find out how their home compares with others and how much money they could save by adding insulation, sealing air leaks or doing other upgrades.Nine U.S. communities will test the score, similar to a miles-per-gallon label for cars, before it's rolled out nationally next summer.
Vice President Joe Biden, facing center, dicusses home weatherization at a private home in Manchester, N.H., on August 26, He's slated to announce Tuesday a new initiative to score homes for energy efficiency and offer low-cost audits and federally-insured homes for upgrades.
"Together, these programs will grow the home retrofit industry and help middle-class families save money and energy," says Vice President Joe Biden, who plans to unveil the initiative at a meeting of his Middle Class Task Force.
I, for one, am in favor of increased protection from lead paint, so our company intends to fully comply with the rules.
— Mark Landry, Historic Restoration Contractor
Most people have probably heard by now about the new rules put into place by the EPA concerning lead paint and renovations. The goal of the rules is to increase awareness of the danger of lead paint and decrease the risk of harm to occupants of old homes where lead paint is present. The rules apply to projects that involve renovation or painting of houses built prior to 1978 (when lead paint was banned).
As a historic restoration contracting company here in Massachusetts, almost all of the buildings that we work on contain lead paint so we need to pay close attention to the requirements.
The rules, known as the RRP (Repair, Renovate, and Paint) guidelines have four main components. The first is notification. Contractors must notify their clients to the dangers of lead paint. This is done by giving them a copy of the EPA's Renovate Right booklet.
The second component is certification: any company working on buildings that contain lead paint must be certified. The EPA logo on our home page shows that we have completed this step. In addition, workers must receive training and be individually certified to carry out renovations involving lead paint. Our carpenters have received this training (as have I).
As we all know, 90 percent of the damage in New Orleans after Category 3 Hurricane Katrina missed the city was caused by a manmade failure of the national levee system.
So please, let stop using what is known as "Katrina shorthand." It was not a natural disaster. It was a manmade disaster, or in the words of John Goodman's character in the HBO series Treme: "A federal f----up of epic proportions."
The same can be said about Haiti, as explained in the video below from the TED conference. The destruction from the earthquake was an engineering disaster.
In both cases, unless we rebuild differently, we are setting ourselves up for the next disaster. In my case, I'm here in New Orleans as one of the most vocal proponents for proper window installation, proper restoration of old wood windows, effective water-resistive exterior cladding, and the right kind of insulation for this hot and humid climate.
Assuming the Army Corps of Engineers gets the levees right this time (as so many other advanced countries have managed to do), and the city never floods again, what a shame it would be if the rebuilt houses failed from mold, rot and pests.
With climate change, our world will see more and more disasters, natural or otherwise. As they happen (and obviously an earthquake is not caused by climate change), let's rebuild right so the affected houses will last decades if not centuries to come.
As housing markets in cities across the country continue to struggle toward recovery, the unique concentration of historic homes in New Orleans is proving to be an economic boon.
For every $1 million spent on restoring a historic building in Louisiana, 28 jobs are created — 10 more jobs than when the same amount is spent on new construction, said Donovan Rypkema, principal consultant for Washington, D.C.-based preservation firm Place Economics.
While preservation efforts have traditionally been a function of aesthetic improvement, Rypkema said economic opportunities loom in every restoration project.
“I think the movement today is not an end in itself, but it is a vehicle for other means,” he said. “There are 500 or 600 different industries listed in the econometric models, almost none of which have more local economic impact than does the restoration of historic buildings.”