The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) annual Natural Talent Design Competition, which offers students and young design and building professionals an opportunity to apply sustainable design concepts to local community building projects, this year has adopted a special format to focus on the ongoing efforts to rebuild New Orleans.
The USGBC has teamedwith the Salvation Army's EnviRenew Initiative for the 2010 competition to challenge entrants to design homes that will be affordable both in the long and short term, will provide a high quality of life, and will demonstrate replicable strategies for building affordably, efficiently, and with minimal environmental impact. The EnviRenew Initiative has launched a large-scale residential green home building program in five New Orleans neighborhoods to aid the construction of 125 new homes and the renovation of 125 existing homes over the next three years through a grant program for homebuyers and homeowners.
2010 Natural Talent Design Competition entrants are tasked with designing an 800-square-foot green house (meeting LEED for Homes Platinum guidelines), with a projected cost estimate of $100,000 or less, for an elderly resident in the Broadmoor neighborhood. The entry period closed May 31, 2010. From the field of entrants, a jury of architects, planners, builders, landscape architects, community advocates, and neighborhood residents will select up to four designs as finalists.
The jury includes: Bob Berkebile, FAIA, principal, BNIM Architects; LaToya Cantrell, president, Broadmoor Improvement Association; Valerie Casey, founder and CEO, The Designers Accord; Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO, USGBC; Rose Jackson Flenorl, manager of social responsibility, FedEx; Capt. Ethan Frizzell, area commander, Salvation Army New Orleans; Kurt Hagstette, AIA, associate design director, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Architects; Walter Isaacson, president and CEO, Aspen Institute; Lindsay Jonker, executive director, Salvation Army's EnviRenew Initiative; Liz Ogbu, associate design director, Public Architecture; and Cameron Sinclair, co-founder, Architecture for Humanity.
Finalist projects will be announced in August and posted on the competition website,, as well as on the Open Architecture Network. After the finalist projects are built by the EnviRenew Initiative and Broadmoor Development Corp., they will enter the competition's measurement and verification phase. Each will be graded based on energy efficiency, water reuse, occupant comfort, and indoor air quality, as well as their affordability, achievement of LEED Platinum certification, and adherence to the established budget.
One design will be selected as the winner and announced during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Nov. 16–19, 2010,  in Chicago.