Interview with a Global Green Activist ...

... on the Sustainable Rebuilding of New Orleans



Hollywood star believes New Orleans project will serve as national model
By Mike Celizic contributor
Updated: 11:21 a.m. ET Aug. 23, 2007

Brad Pitt wants to make energy bills go away, and he doesn’t think that’s an outlandish pipe dream. In the second part of an exclusive one-on-one interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry, he showed how the new houses he’s helping to build in New Orleans will make a giant stride toward that goal.
«The idea that we pay utility bills is absolutely unnecessary,» he said as he led a tour of what will be an affordable house in the city’s devastated Ninth Ward. «I mean, there's the sun. Feel the breeze that's been created here. And we got water right out there,» he said, gesturing out an opening in the wall that will be a window. «Any one of these can be harnessed,» he continued. «And we can integrate ourselves into that ecosystem, and not only power our houses, but actually produce energy for other parts of the city.» The actor and activist sponsored a design competition for affordable apartments and houses along with Global Green USA. With the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina arriving next week, work on 18 apartments and five homes is nearing completion. Global Green is constructing the homes, which will be sold to residents, with preference being given to former residents of the neighborhood. The housing will not be totally independent of the energy grid. «The family that will live here will save 75 percent on their energy bill,» he told Curry. It starts with a roof positioned for maximum exposure to the sun to feed solar panels. All lighting will be energyefficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. Appliances are Energy Star rated for efficiency. The water heater has no holding tank to keep hot, instead providing instant hot water as it is needed: «You are not heating massive amounts of water for 24 hours a day,» he said. On Wednesday, Pitt, dressed in T-shirt, work pants and a tweed, snap-brim hat, had talked about how the devastation visited on the Big Easy was not nature’s doing.