After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than five years ago, the nonprofit Global Green USA started working to help the city build back in a greener way. In 2006, the organization held an open design competition, asking designers to come up with a single-family home that used net-zero energy. The hope was the design contest, along with an initiative to educate homeowners on sustainably building, would help promote green building practices in New Orleans. But the group also built five houses based on the winning design in the Holy Cross neighborhood and the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward, with the idea of providing affordable housing to a few displaced families.
By 2009, the houses were finished and ready to go on the market. But financing complications delayed, over and over again, the moment when families could move in. Now, the project is finally completing its first stage. Four of the houses went on the market a week ago. Global Green has already received the first offer on one of them.