Head of the Grass
Business Week named New Orleans real estate development firm Green Coast Enterprises LLC one of its 25 most innovative businesses in the U.S. Business partners Will Bradshaw and Robin Teague launched the company in 2007 with a plan to build energy-efficient and storm-resistant structures that would be easy to replicate in other coastal regions. The duo has since completed work on more than 24 units in the New Orleans area and is now developing commercial properties in Broadmoor, Central City and Mid-City.
"It's another in a series of signals of people knowing we're doing something unique," Bradshaw says.
The company also is invested in community projects, including the EnviRenew Initiative, a collaborative renovation project with the Salvation Army and the Broadmoor Improvement Association. Green Coast has built 20 homes for Project Home Again, a nonprofit development to house Gentilly residents who lost their homes due to the levee failures. The project is now in its second phase, with nine units under construction. Soon Bradshaw and Teague will help launch Project Sprout, which aims to grow biofuel crops on blighted properties throughout New Orleans. The project is one of the company's planned "low-cost, high-impact" community initiatives, Bradshaw says.
Sowing the Seeds
Global Green USA has awarded Gentilly Terrace Elementary School $75,000 as part of the Green Seed Schools initiative. The grant funds the purchase and installation of solar window shading and light sensors and insulating hot water tanks to help improve air quality and reduce energy costs. Global Green awarded the grant based on how the money would impact energy savings and carbon emissions.
The April 16 announcement kicked off the school's Go Green Week, which includes a schoolwide Green New Orleans art contest and green-minded prizes. The initiative is designed to expose students to the benefits and technologies of green building and practices so they can share what they've learned with their families.
Gentilly Terrace is the fourth school to receive such a grant. The first Green Seed School, A.P. Tureaud Elementary, now saves $24,561 and nearly 250,000 tons of carbon emissions each year. The second, International School of Louisiana, saves $20,000; the third, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School, received $70,000 in funding and technical assistance in January.
Rising costs and environmental roadblocks have stalled Entergy Corporation's plans to convert the Little Gypsy plant in Montz into a coal and petroleum coke processing plant. On April 1, Entergy announced it is pulling out of the $1.76 billion project. The company says it will re-evaluate the project over the next three years.
Petroleum coke is an oil byproduct high in sulfuric content and has few organic compounds in its emissions, which has irked some environmental groups. Following a March 11 Louisiana Public Service Commission meeting, Entergy was ordered to review the project's economic viability, which the commission anticipated would be a burden on Entergy customers because of expected federal crackdowns on carbon emissions.
Entergy has already invested $300 million from ratepayers to fund the conversion, which the Say Yes to Clean Energy Coalition campaign says would have been better spent funding sustainable energy and efficiency projects. The coalition — composed of the Louisiana Sierra Club, Alliance for Affordable Energy, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Gulf Restoration Network — rallied against Entergy's construction plans and claimed the project's suspension was a victory for Louisiana ratepayers. The coalition still calls for Entergy's total cancellation of the project.
The New Orleans Healing Center (NOHC) and Green Renewal LLC host "Art for Earth's Sake," an environmental art exhibit curated by Veronica S. Leandrez. The showcase opens at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Earth Day, and will run from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, through May 22.
The show features environmentally themed paintings, sculpture and mixed media by Christopher S. Brumfield, Chris Kaiser, Travis Linde, Matteo Neivert and Leandrez. Proceeds from the sale of each work will benefit Green Renewal's local and worldwide environmental efforts, including its carbon-offsetting programs. Leandrez developed the idea for the show from post-Katrina art made with flooded and salvaged material and found objects. The exhibit marks the first of several planned green art showcases Leandrez will curate.
The NOHC will serve as a community health clinic for the St. Claude Avenue corridor when it opens. For now, Green Renewal will use the space the center used to house exhibitions in conjunction with last year's Prospect.1 art biennial.
Building codes might look a bit greener in the future.
One hundred members of the International Code Council (ICC) visited the Make It Right neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward March 25 to study green building practices and technologies. The ICC's 2009 Codes Forum Field Activity for Green Building and Disaster Safety studied the site to learn more about energy efficiency, new structural and framing technologies and storm-resistant building efforts. The forum also held "Green Building" and "When Disaster Strikes" courses.
The council will review its findings for possible applications to model housing codes and discuss the potential role Make It Right's green technologies may play in restructuring building codes in the future.