Ameresco, Global Green, Wal-Mart, and Simon Foundation commit to:
- Bring together efficiency experts with a diverse group of community and non-profit leaders, material suppliers and foundations, students and parents, homeowners and concerned citizens to devise solutions to make homes and schools in New Orleans healthier places to live, learn, and build community.
Identify homes and school(s) in the community that are:
- Stable Structures
- In need or could benefit from retrofits and upgrades
- Paying excessively high utility bills
- Inhabited by eager occupants willing to take part in the blitz
- Plan and facilitate a community-wide 'Efficiency Blitz' that will upgrade existing homes while reducing energy demand and costs.
Over one three-day period, 10 conservation teams with five energy engineers will descend on the community to implement these conservation measures. The measures implemented will include, at a minimum, lighting retrofits, bathroom retrofits (low-flow showerheads, water minimization devices, etc.), insulation (wrapping water heater, caulking, weatherizing windows), tinting windows, and other efficiency measures.
The Blitz is designed to help provide relief to homeowners who are struggling to get their lives on track and their homes back to a livable condition. The focus will be on implementing replicable measures that other homeowners can follow. The intended result will be to make the local community more livable and environmentally friendly, while helping to alleviate one of the contributing factors of widespread poverty: escalating energy costs.
The Clinton Global Initiative has provided a fortuitous opportunity for the partners to work collaboratively on improving community homes and schools in New Orleans. Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the city's economic and environmental recovery is minimal compared to the dollars donated to disaster relief. New Orleans is a city of great assets, including rich Cajun and Creole heritages blended together to create this unique and beautiful part of the country. At the same time, the city is struggling to recover from devastating disaster that caused its population to drop by nearly 50 percent, compromised its protective wetlands and levees, and threw the city into economic turmoil. New Orleans is at a critical moment where it needs to use those assets strategically to build a more equitable, sustainable and economically stable future.
This commitment brings together those working on the ground in New Orleans with private business, foundations, and community leaders to provide expertise and assistance in implementing conservation measures, as well as concrete resources, to provide the efficiency items needed for the retrofits. Ameresco and partners commit to work with the local New Orleans community and any other individuals or institutions that want to learn about the operational benefits of improving efficiency.
Touring the recovery efforts (or lack of) it is clear that New Orleans needs an infusion of capital, volunteers, and sustainability solutions to make its neighborhoods and homes more livable, safe, and environmentally friendly. The partners have signed on to this commitment to deliver needed services to existing and returning residents of this healing city. Each partner has made a commitment that will make it possible to provide weatherization, energy, and water efficiency upgrades to local homes and facilities.
The partners will organize the Efficiency Blitz for six to eight months and implement the program around April or May of 2008.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The partners will consider the Efficiency Blitz a success if it results in the New Orleans community learning about and embracing energy and water efficiency as a way to cut costs, reduce energy demand, and to improve the environment. As a way of measuring the project's success, an energy profile will be created of each home and school that is retrofitted. This will set an emissions base line for each structure. Once the efficiency measures are implemented, Ameresco and partners will then record the reduction of energy use and costs from which they can measure the impact of the program. According to the EPA, each household uses, on average, about 10,000 kws of electricity annually. If this number is extrapolated to the 500 homes Ameresco and partners plan to upgrade, it totals 5 MWs of power. This project would like to see if it can bring that number down by at least 20 percent through a combination of efficiency measures and conservation due to behavioral changes. Reducing demand and consumption by about 2 MWs is equivalent to offsetting the use of over 300 rail cars of coal, or the environmental benefit of planting over 20,000 acres of forest.
Ameresco and Global Green, working with all partners, will develop the implementation strategy for the Efficiency Blitz. Our efforts will revolve around locating appropriate homes and schools for efficiency upgrades, educating the occupants about the benefits of the project; coordinating the logistics that will accompany having 50-plus engineers and volunteers descending on New Orleans, and locating and procuring all of the materials for the retrofits. Implementing conservation measures in local homes and schools will produce a replicable model that others in and around the area can follow to green their homes. At the end of the blitz, it is the partners' hope that up to 500 homes and one school will be the beneficiaries of these services.
Education will also be a focus of the partners' implementation efforts. Residents and students will be asked to attend an evening information session and 'celebration,' and will receive hands-on instruction and training in their homes by the conservation teams on how to maintain the efficiency measures installed in their homes. Also, the conservation team will include students from local vocational schools, colleges, and universities. This experience will give these students hands-on experience and hopefully spark their interest in a career in revitalizing and improving the efficiency of structures and facilities. The partners are seeking either financial or in-kind contributions for the materials for energy and water efficiency, and weatherization. After the efficiency measures have been implemented, the community will realize a number of benefits. In addition to reducing utility costs, these efforts will reduce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. Warmer waters attributed to climate change have been credited with elevating Hurricane Katrina's intensity.
The costs will total $250,000 for a weekend program to green approximately 250 homes and one school.
Anticipated Launch: Summit planning in Fall-Winter 2007; Summit in late Spring 2008.
October 2007-March/April 2008: Global Green will work with partners and volunteers to coordinate the logistics of the efficiency blitz. This will involve identifying the homes and school(s) to be retrofitted, procuring the necessary efficiency materials; and organizing all of the logistics to transport the volunteers to and from the designated sites.
- A plan for each home will be formulated. This may involve preliminary visits from volunteers to determine which efficiency measure will produce the greatest climate and economic impact.
- During the weekend of the 'Efficiency Blitz', volunteers will arrive Thursday evening for an orientation and prep session.
- On Friday morning, Ameresco volunteers will perform an evaluation and implement upgrades to a local school. The Wal-Mart volunteers will work with Global Green to coordinate and deliver materials for the efficiency blitz to the selected homes. Volunteers will also be responsible to educating homeowners on the process for implementing measures, and what they could expect when complete.
- On Friday Evening, residents, school administrators, students and volunteers will gather for a dinner and training session. Details of the school retrofit will be discussed as well as details for the retrofits that will take place over the weekend.
- On Saturday, volunteers will meet together to be dispatched into the local community. Global Green and Wal-Mart volunteers will have identified, briefed, and scheduled homeowners for efficiency upgrades. Global Green and Wal-Mart volunteers will have also organized and prepared all of the materials. Ameresco volunteers will be dispatched in teams to various points in the community, and will continue to retrofit homes until as many as 250 homes are completed. Wal-Mart volunteers will work on the façade of the homes, which may include power washing flood lines, applying a fresh coat of paint, or planting flowers.
- On Sunday, volunteers will follow the same schedule. Another 250 homes will be retrofitted after this day.