On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, and the Gulf Coast region was forever changed. Although the city of New Orleans survived Katrina relatively intact, the levee breaks that came soon after basically devastated the city. As the five-year anniversary of Katrina approaches, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) looks back at how green building has helped the city’s recovery process.

The USGBC has had a hand in a variety of green building projects and goals including:

  • The Make It Right LEED Platinum community
  • A goal that all public schools be built to at least LEED Silver certification standards
  • A plan for four LEED Platinum homes in the Broadmoor neighborhood
  • Green building training programs to help residents of New Orleans prepare for the green economy
These are just a few examples of how the USGBC has partnered with organizations and government entities in New Orleans to help the city bounce back from the flooding that wreaked havoc on the community.

The commitment to greener schools is already paying dividends. The first new green school opened last August and students at the school posted a double-digit increase in test scores. This was in one school year alone. The students, teachers and staff have shown first-hand that a green school is not just good for the environment but it provides a better learning environment for students. The better the learning (and teaching) environment, the more students can learn. These test scores have shown what a big difference a green school can make in just a short period of time.

Obviously there is still much work to be done in New Orleans. However the USGBC and community organizations are committed to the long-term rebuilding process. For more information on the green building accomplishments achieved over the past five years, read the entire release from the USGBC: USGBC Celebrates Five Years of Green Building, Economic & Educational Progress in New Orleans (PDF).

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