September 25, 2012
After Hurricane Katrina’s devastating path through New Orleans, 80 percent of the city faced a long, arduous process of rebuilding the place they called home. Actor Brad Pitt started a now well-known organization called Make It Right with the purpose of building eco-friendly homes that can survive a flood. Let’s take a look at their progress today and the goals yet to be accomplished.
Brad Pitt visited New Orleans in 2007 and was alarmed by the lack of progress in the rebuilding process. The Lower 9th Ward, one of the most affected areas by Katrina, looked as though not a single day had passed after the hurricane. Pitt’s plan was to build at least 150 sustainable houses in the area.
According to Make It Right’s website, a total of 73 houses have been completed or are under construction. So far, 14 families have been able to move back into their homes.
The organization has been able to design and build sustainable houses, resistant to storms and extreme weather. Part of the objective was to prove these homes can be built under any circumstance, and should be adopted all over the world.
According to Make It Right, the U.S. Green Building Council says the organization “is building the largest, greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America.”
Today, Make It Right is the largest congregation of smart-design homes, with 21 award-winning architects from all over the world contributing with their designs.
• Metal roofs: 26 gauge that absorb less heat and reduces the need to cool a home by 20 to 70 percent. It also serves to catch rain water.
Solar Power: photovoltaic panels on the roof that use light from the sun to generate electricity, which saves money and decreases the dependence on conventional fossil fuels. Each house generates 2.7 to 3.0 KW of energy.
• Elevation: the houses are built up to 5 or 8 feet depending on the homeowner. The area under the elevated home is used as a parking space.
• Storm Fabric: made from Kevlar and also used in bullet-proof vests, fitted to all windows, protecting them from strong winds or debris.
• Tankless Waterheaters: capable of heating water instantly while being 83 to 93 percent more efficient. They reduce annual water heating by 50 percent.
• Low Flow Plumbing Fixtures: the faucets and showerheads reduce water flow while maintaining the water pressure and “feel” of a normal shower.
Although there isn’t an estimated date set for the completion of this project, Make It Right offers the following interactive map for people to track their process. Witness as each house is finished and more families move in.
Over 4,000 homes were destroyed in the Lower 9th Ward, after Katrina. Pitt still honors his promise to build at least 150 homes in the area, and to rebuild the communities that gave the place color and character.