NEW YORK - Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president, CEO, and founding chair, honored the neighborhood being built by Make It Right New Orleans, the post-Katrina housing initiative launched by actor Brad Pitt, as the “largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world” at the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in New York.

Make It Right, which was announced as a “commitment” at the 2007 CGI meeting, currently has 13 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified homes and is building at least 150 LEED Platinum homes in a Lower 9th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans that was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and was nearest to the disastrous breech of the Industrial Canal levee.

“In transforming the Lower 9th Ward, Make It Right is showing us how we can transform those parts of our nation that have fallen behind the most, whether through neglect, poverty, or disaster,” said President Clinton. “Make It Right offers a blueprint for how to build homes that instill pride and combine to form communities of hope and opportunity. By following the Make It Right model, we can generate the green collar jobs our economy needs to move forward and advance building practices that reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time growing neighborhoods where families can thrive.”

“Through Make It Right we are reminded that our work is not about buildings, but rather about the people within them,” said Fedrizzi. “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 a 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.”

“While Katrina gave us the opportunity to think creatively about how to make green homes affordable for the low-income families who need them the most, it shouldn’t take a hurricane to make that happen in other cities,” Pitt said. “Our plan is to take what we have learned in New Orleans and help other communities build healthy, safe, and affordable green homes. Our hope is to make these homes the norm, not the exception.”

“The devastation caused by Katrina and delay in rebuilding created an opportunity to turn tragedy into a turning point in home building in New Orleans and other cities,” said Tom Darden, executive director, Make it Right. “We did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past, but to build homes that were green and affordable, strong enough to weather the next storm, and made from sustainable materials.”

Fedrizzi presented a LEED plaque to Pitt, Darden, and Make It Right resident and Katrina-survivor Deidre Taylor in recognition of the initiative’s 150+ planned and 13 already certified LEED Platinum homes, noting that no other community comprises as many LEED Platinum certified homes.

Publication date:10/26/2009