When celebrities get involved in a cause, it's amazing how people sit up and take notice.
Movie heartthrob Brad Pitt decided a while back to make the rebuilding of New Orleans' Ninth ward one of his many causes, becoming a part-time resident of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. His goals were not only to become a catalyst to create new housing, but also to encourage a new community that would be environmentally friendly.
After seeing the devastation first hand and meeting with the hardest-hit residents, Pitt partnered with building industry experts to create the Make It Right Foundation to catapult the rebuilding of New Orleans starting with the Lower Ninth Ward. The new 150-home community will address the dire need for single-family housing with safe, healthy, sustainable homes to further spark rebuilding efforts in one of the richest cultural communities in America -- an area that saw houses not just flooded, but literally swept off their foundations.
In a series of local community meetings, Pitt met with residents to discuss the many challenges their community faced, including worsening environmental conditions. Inspired by the courage and hope of the residents he met, Pitt resolved to do whatever he could to help rebuild the lower Ninth Ward -- but this time leaving it better than before. He began working with Global Green to sponsor an architecture competition aimed at generating sustainable ideas. This led to an outreach to experts from around the world to develop viable ideas and produced the core of the Make it Right Foundation.
Included among the notable experts are world-renowned environmental engineers William McDonough & Partners, the Cherokee Gives Back Foundation, an environmental remediation firm, and Graft, an innovative architectural firm that Pitt became involved in with other projects around the world.
One of the most recent announcements (for the Pacific Coast Builder's Conference to be held June 24-27th in San Francisco) is the donation of 150 environmentally correct tankless hot water heaters by Nortiz America. The units are on-demand, barely bigger-than-than-a-breadbox systems, replacing the traditional space-grabbing tank-style water heaters and saving new residents both utility dollars and wasted water.