Home Green Home

  Following its 12 Days of Christmas Greening program last December, the Salvation Army kicked off its much larger Green Home Sustainability program this month at the home of Leslie Sims. As part of the Salvation Army's EnviRENEW initiative, the program provides qualifying homeowners a green home makeover, including eco-friendly insulation from Green Bean Insulation, weatherization updates from the Alliance for Affordable Energy and Green Light New Orleans, and trees from Hike for KaTREEna. Green Coast Enterprises oversees the renovations, and Rebuilding Together helps incorporate green building practices.

  The $2.25 million program covers five parishes, including Orleans, and will weatherize homes and help decrease utility bills for eligible homeowners like Sims. Local green nonprofits and building agencies offer the appropriate services at no cost to the homeowner.

  The EnviRENEW initiative is the Salvation Army's ongoing $70 million project in the New Orleans area to aid in post-Katrina recovery and renovate 125 homes over the next three years.

Wetlands Wake—Up Call

  To ring in this year's hurricane season with a message, members of New Orleans City Council, St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro, Beth Galante of Global Green and Pam Dashiell from the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development will hold a Rally for Restoration. The rally meets at noon Monday, June 1, at the Bayou Bienvenue Cypress Triangle platform (at Caffin and Florida avenues), where the community leaders will address coastal restoration issues and hurricane preparedness. Speakers will hold the Army Corps of Engineers accountable for the restoration of wetlands along the closed Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.

  The meeting is supported by the National Wildlife Federation, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network.Visit for details.

Road Rules

  Drivers, clear the lanes. At a May session, the state House unanimously approved HB 725, which aims to provide at least 3 feet of space between bicyclists and passing cars. HB 725 proceeds as the Colin Goodier Protection Act, named after a New Orleans cyclist and resident surgeon at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center who was killed in a traffic accident in June 2008. The bill, which goes to the state Senate, calls for motorists to pay up to $200 or spend up to 30 days in jail for harassing or verbally abusing cyclists.

  The Department of Motor Vehicles also must update educational materials, and the Department of Transportation and Development will install more signs and road markings warning drivers of bicycles on the road. Bicycle laws in Louisiana were last amended in August 2003.

Eco—Locals Score Big

  The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) awarded 14 local environmental efforts $500,000 in grants through its Environmental Fund. The grants focus on smaller organizations that can make a large impact on the immediate community.

  Grant recipients include the Bayou St. John Conservation Alliance, which plans to install four water-level and salinity monitoring stations in Bayou St. John; the Charitable Film Network, which will produce an environmental justice film festival for high school students in at-risk communities; and the Urban Conservancy and Stay Local!, which plan a one-day seminar for local small-business owners to educate them on green business practices and hurricane preparation and recovery.

  The GNOF established the Environmental Fund in 1994 as the result of a $6 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over a 1981 spill of phenol, a poisonous compound, that tainted drinking water in the Mississippi River. The fund supports organizations in Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Washington parishes.

Ninth Ward Sun Rise

  Aside from the Make It Right Foundation's extensive green and sustainable showcase homes, the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood now welcomes Road Home Builders and its Sunconomy home, a "zero-energy" solar-powered model home. The first house, at 1905 Caffin Ave., features an energy-efficient solar electric system, which the company says could save $200 on a monthly electric bill; some homes with the system will have the option of going entirely off the grid.

  A Net Zero home option uses solar panels to collect and store energy, with batteries and generators providing power. The interiors provide cleaner, greener living spaces free of toxic chemicals, and the homes are built to withstand winds of up to 150 mph. Homebuyers are eligible for up to $25,000 in energy tax rebates, and the company says homeowners could see energy savings of up to $100,000 during the first 20 years.

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