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New Orleans and Energy Efficiency


The Saint Bernard Project works tirelessly with volunteers, veterans and homeowners to continue the rebuilding. With the help of the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development they will be able to apply a greater energy efficiency strategy to help New Orleans and the country reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Zachary Rosenburg, Dominiqe Adansi-Bona, Sgt. James McQueen, Sgt John Johnson
Energy Department Video

ZACHARY ROSENBURG:  My name is Zach Rosenburg.  I’m the co-founder and CEO of the St. Bernard Project.  The St. Bernard Project exists to help Katrina and oil spill survivors rebuild their homes, lives and communities.

DOMINIQUE ADANSI-BONA:  Kwame Adansi-Bona, my great husband.  And I am Dominique Adansi-Bona.  When we first came back, we were living here before my husband had the stroke.  Oh my goodness, ever since St. Bernard Project came to our home, it has been full speed ahead.

STAFF SERGEANT JOHN JOHNSON:  Yeah, I am Staff Sergeant Johnson.  I’m a member of the United States Army Wounded Warrior Program.  I’m here as a volunteer with the St. Bernard Project.

SERGEANT JAMES MCQUEEN:  My name is Jim McQueen, and I’m director of construction for the St. Bernard Project.

MR. ROSENBURG:  This is one of several houses that we’re rebuilding on Pontchartrain Park.  It’s a predominantly African-American community that was built in the 1950s.

SGT. JOHNSON:  I grew up in Pontchartrain Park.  This is my home.  Basically I’ve been here for over 40 years.

MS. ADANSI-BONA:  Pontchartrain Park is so special.  Ms. Gaines (sp) lived next door to us over here.  Over here was my friend Dasi (sp) and the – and Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand (sp).

SGT. JOHNSON:  They need affordable housing for people to return to New Orleans and a beautiful, safe environment.

MR. ROSENBURG:  The task for us is to properly balance energy efficiency with cost and pace.

MS. ADANSI-BONA:  I’m so excited that this administration is taking steps to make energy efficiency available for everyday people like my husband and myself.

SGT. JOHNSON:  Energy efficiency in the St. Bernard Project has worldwide implications.

MR. ROSENBURG:  We can’t have houses that are optimally energy efficient that aren’t affordable or maintainable.  We can’t have houses that we can build quickly and nicely that aren’t sustainable because the energy bills are too high.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  And it is a double-paned window, argon filled in between.  We double caulk the outside.

SGT. JOHNSON:  And they can save five barrels of fuel per home per month.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  We install weather stripping so when the door closes there is a tight seal.

SGT. JOHNSON:  That stabilizes that much fuel consumption.  That lowers their utility their bill.  That utility bill is then translated throughout the energy grid.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  We will go through and replace all these incandescent bulbs with the fluorescent bulbs.

St. Bernard Project has made a commitment to try to hire and use veterans in every and any instant that we can.

MR. ROSENBURG:  We are thrilled to partner with the Wounded Warrior Program.  A veteran is always looking for her or his next mission.

SGT. JOHNSON:  What the St. Bernard Project is doing for me is it’s giving me a sense of worth now.  I’m not out the game.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  I entered in ’58 and left active duty in ’61.  Anyone who has served in our armed forces has – certainly is a person who is someone who is deeply interested in service to the country, service to community.

SGT. JOHNSON:  I can help become a problem solver and engage myself in the community to a point where I am not as concerned about what happened to me as I am concerned about what I can do for other people.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  I get a deep personal satisfaction from being able to work with the St. Bernard Project and being able to help people here in the greater New Orleans area and look forward to being able to help our veterans also.

MR. ROSENBURG:  What’s going to take the St. Bernard Project forward is partnerships.

SGT. JOHNSON:  When you’re dealing with a volunteer organization such as the St. Bernard Project, their resources are limited because most of it is based on volunteers and donations.

MR. ROSENBURG:  We’re thrilled with the partnership with HUD and the Department of Energy because that brings their expertise in to help us take our already effective building model and make it more sustainable and responsible.

MS. ADANSI-BONA:  Now that my home is finished, I think that St. Bernard Project has to keep moving forward because there are a lot of people like my husband and myself who slipped through the cracks.

SGT. MCQUEEN:  Well, I feel like I’m successful when I – we have a welcome-home party and I see the smiles and the tears of the homeowner when they’re going back into their house finally after five years of living in conditions that no one should be asked to live under.