Green Bldg Design Targets New Orleans

This year the US Green Building Council is offering students and emerging professionals the opportunity to apply sustainable design principles to the ongoing the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. The contest is called the 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition, and the four finalists–encompassing two emerging professional teams, one student team, and one individual student–have just been announced.

In order to enter the contest, teams/individuals had to develop a design for a small, affordable, ADA-compliant (American Disabilities Act), LEED Platinum home that demonstrates “innovative green building principles” designed to save the future homeowners money over the life-cycle of the home. Entries also had to show respect for the Broadmoor aesthetic of the neighborhood and the opinion of neighbors as captured by the community vote, held earlier in the summer.

EASY House

image via Open Architecture Network

The competition is offered in collaboration with the Salvation Army’s EnviRenew. The four finalists are (1) “The Little Easy” – by a team that came together to lead Cornell University’s 2005 DOE Solar Decathlon Team, and went on to found ZeroEnergy Design (which recently won an award from Ecohome Magazine) for a design which includes an “outdoor living room,” a wheel chair lift, and a storm water collection system; (2) “RAMPed Up” – by a team from Buro Happold Consulting Engineers and Rogers Marvel Architects, which placed high importance on a structural system built to resist gravity, wind and flood and utilizing a rainwater harvesting system to mitigate storm water runoff while covering 100% of the home’s irrigation demand; (3) “E.A.S.Y. (Efficiency. Accessibility. Safety. You) House” – by Wuijoon Ha, a five-year Carnegie Mellon architecture student, which includes operable skylights, a green roof and a wheelchair lift; and (4) “Greenboy Productions” – by a team from the University of Hawaii that includes members from Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States(Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and designed to be elevated to 8′-0″ above grade, allowing the space below the home to serve as a carport.

“Though steady progress has been made in the recovery of the city of New Orleans, a vital part of true long-term recovery is ensuring that resiliency is deeply embedded in both the built environment and the communities that live there,” said Lindsay Jonker, Director of The Salvation Army’s EnviRenew, in a statement. “By focusing on energy-efficiency in the service of affordability for households and sustainability in the service of durability of the urban fabric, the drive to both recover and strengthen the future prospects of the city of New Orleans, at both the neighborhood and city-wide levels, can be better met.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply September 9, 2010


    This competition will encourage more of green lifestyle. There are a number of positive effects on the local environment, and even on the lives of people in the vicinity of a green building.

  • Reply January 26, 2011

    Green Architecture

    This is so good for the city of New Orleans. This will jump start other competing construction companies to follow in their foot steps and bring in more cleaner, energy saving homes. Great job for the city of New Orleans

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