Global Green announces grant for green rebuilding of New Orleans school

Global Green USA has contributed $300,000 plus technical expertise to fund the transformation of the Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School into the first official Model Green School, raising the bar for community rebuilding standards. Partnering with the Recovery School District, Global Green USA will rebuild and apply LEED Silver status green renovations to the school building that sustained severe damage due to levee failures after Hurricane Katrina...

• Global Green joins with Recovery School District and neighborhood to create first model for green school building; Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School in Broadmoor to be first model school for sustainable redevelopment in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA, July 17, 2008 -- Global Green USA has contributed $300,000 plus technical expertise to fund the transformation of the Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School into the first official Model Green School, raising the bar for community rebuilding standards. Partnering with the Recovery School District, Global Green USA will rebuild and apply LEED Silver status green renovations to the school building that sustained severe damage due to levee failures after Hurricane Katrina. On Thursday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m., a groundbreaking event was held on the campus of the Wilson School to kick-off the important community alliance formed between Global Green USA, the Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School, the Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) and the Recovery School District (RSD) for redevelopment with a focus on modeling the latest in green, sustainable building.

As a part of their Green Schools program, which was launched in 2004, and with the help of a generous grant from the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, Global Green USA is offering the $300,000 contribution as well as all necessary technical expertise to achieve LEED Silver status for the cities first Model Green School. The community event will be held on the Wilson School grounds on the South Miro Street side of campus where the post-renovation building entrance will be.

"We're extremely grateful to Global Green USA for bringing this much needed funding and expertise to the table and for their continued encouragement and support as we proceed to rebuild the school system," said Paul Vallas, Superintendent, Recovery School District.

"It is important for residents of New Orleans to get together to commemorate milestones on our path to full recovery," said LaToya Cantrell, President of the BIA. "Today, we celebrate a major accomplishment. The restoration of Wilson proves that not only is our city coming back better than before but so are our schools. We are so proud to have one of America's most sustainable elementary schools in Broadmoor, here in the heart of New Orleans."

Andrew H. Wilson Elementary, the only school in the Broadmoor neighborhood, will be a part of Global Green USA's "Model Schools" initiative, which overhauls existing public school buildings to yield high performance showcase green schools. Although the low-lying neighborhood, which sat in several feet of flood water in the wake of Katrina, has seen steady revival spearheaded by neighborhood organizations and other community leaders since the storm, it's only school has yet to undergo some necessary renovations.

With the help of the state school district, who have committed to achieving LEED Silver status for the school, and financial and technical assistance from Global Green USA, a design team will integrate the highest standards of efficiency and sustainability when applying needed structural improvements.

"We are thrilled to be able to help the Recovery School District and the Broadmoor neighborhood to not only rebuild this historic school but to create a healthier, more energy efficient learning center so that New Orleans children can truly excel," said Beth Galante, Director of Global Green USA's New Orleans office. "Rebuilding our schools and other major institutions to the highest levels of sustainability is a wise investment in our city's future, and an essential part of Global Green USA's national movement to help coastal cities. We are excited to be working with the Broadmoor neighborhood to rebuild stronger than ever and excited that this community has distinguished their school as an important model and stimulus for rebuilding all New Orleans schools in a sustainable way. Global Green USA is proud to help create the first truly green school in New Orleans, an investment that will pay dividends for generations to come in higher test scores, healthier students and teachers, and lower utility and maintenance costs."

As a showcase green school, the Wilson Elementary School building will incorporate more than 40 specific green measures outfitted specifically to enhance the building's energy efficiency and student performance. Among these green technologies will be 12-15 Solar Domestic Hot Water panels to be installed above the kitchen which will serve 90% of hot water cooking needs. There will also be two 12,000 gallon above ground water cisterns to collect and store rainwater for irrigation purposes as well as an internet-based monitoring and data collection system to illustrate solar domestic hot water, rainwater, PV and day lighting usage for both educational and carbon offset purposes.

"Green schools have been proven to provide better learning environments for students, producing 20-25 % higher test scores. Additionally, green schools provide energy cost savings, lower water usage, healthier students and teachers, better teacher retention rates, lower absentee rates and substantially lower long term operation and maintenance costs," said Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green USA. "Wilson Elementary will be a model for how we would like to see the green rebuilding of all schools. We hope this project will show local, national and worldwide spectators that building schools green is achievable. We're proud to provide the proof that every school can and should be built this way." said Peterson.

To identify and understand the green technology in the school, ample interpretive signage will be posted in and around the school highlighting the school's adopted green technology and strategies. Signage will be just one small factor of larger goals to incorporate the building's newly adopted eco-friendly technologies within the curriculum at Wilson Elementary planting seeds in our youth about the future of building geared toward minimal environmental footprints.

Global Green USA is a national environmental non-profit organization that merges innovative research, cutting-edge community based projects and targeted advocacy to create a sustainable future. Global Green opened a New Orleans office shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf and is collaborating with environmentalists, community developers, urban organizations and others to create the building blocks for a climate friendly, model sustainable city for the 21st century.

Global Green USA has helped "green" nearly $20 billion nationally in affordable housing, school, college, and municipal building construction through technical assistance, partnerships, advocacy, and education. The organization has written and implemented green building, energy efficiency, and solar power guidelines in addition to legislation and incentives at the local, state, and federal level. It has also pioneered partnerships with countless non-profits, developers and government agencies.

The Green Seed Schools program grants thousands of dollars to five New Orleans schools, two of which have yet to be chosen, in order for them to be updated with the latest in water and energy conservation technology. The first Green Seed School, A.P. Tureaud Elementary, will save $24,561 annually because of the conversion. This 35% utility reduction saves nearly 250,000 tons of carbon emissions per year. The second Green Seed School, International School of Louisiana, will receive projected annual cost savings of $20,000. The third school, named in January, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of the Lower 9th ward received $70,000 in funding and technical assistance to become a Green Seed School.

A second and more ambitious phase of the program will result in the creation of high performance showcase green schools including the major rehabilitation of two schools including Andrew H. Wilson Elementary, over the course of the next two years.

The Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) is the leading civic organization for this diverse, thriving community in the heart of New Orleans. Created in 1930 to address the needs of the recently established neighborhood, the BIA incorporated in 1970 to fight the racially divisive practice of "blockbusting."

Since Katrina, the BIA has led community efforts to rebuild Broadmoor -- better than before. To date, the community has repaired over seventy percent of its homes; the neighborhood's charter school just finished its first full year of operation; work is poised to begin on a local library. Challenges persist, but the BIA is committed to revitalizing Broadmoor -- and by extension, the City of New Orleans -- home-by-home and block-by-block.


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