The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are helping New Orleans, Louisiana, incorporate energy efficiency into rebuilding efforts after being devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the single largest catastrophe in U.S. history, struck the Gulf Coast, flooding 80% of New Orleans and causing $89.6 billion in damages. Three weeks later, the city was hit again by Hurricane Rita.
DOE and NREL focused their assistance efforts to New Orleans in the specific areas listed below. You can also read more in the fact sheet Rising Above the Water: New Orleans Implements Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Practices Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Design new schools that are 30% more efficient than code by performing energy modeling and audits, monitoring energy use, and recommending efficiency strategies to save costs and reduce energy consumption.
Develop cost-neutral energy-efficient design recommendations that encourage home builders to meet efficiency goals while constructing affordable homes and address the unique building challenges in New Orleans' hot-humid climate.
Evaluate the costs, benefits, and impacts of various energy efficiency and renewable technology energy policy options and report the findings to local government and stakeholders.
Support related efforts in the city to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, such as replacing municipal buses lost in Katrina with biodiesel-fueled buses and reducing barriers to solar energy use.