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Brad Pitt's Foundation Embraces Green Building and Solar Energy

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Brad Pitt's foundation on Saturday brought sustainability and green building to an area of Kansas City that struggles with high unemployment and crime rates.

Make It Right, Pitt's six-year-old green building organization, cut the ribbon on Bancroft School Apartments, a former school building that now contains 50 LEED Platinum certified rental units under a solar roof with 400 panels. The school, in the Manheim Park neighborhood, has previously been abandoned and boarded up for 13 years, according to Make It Right.

“As a fellow Missourian, it brings me great pride that Make It Right can be of service in my home state,” Pitt said. “This beautiful building will provide housing for many people in need. We also hope it serves as a catalyst for new life and new investment in the community of Manheim Park.”

A two bedroom apartment after renovation of Bancroft School Apartments in Kansas City. Photo credit: Make It Right

 

A two bedroom apartment before renovation of Bancroft School Apartments in Kansas City. Photo credit: Make It Right

A mix of private donations and tax credits funded the $14.3 million Bancroft School Apartment project. Make It Right worked with the  Dalmark GroupNHS and Green Impact Zone to renovate the school, which was built more than 100 years ago.

The renovation included using 2,220 gallons paint without volatile organic compounds, donated by Benjamin Moore and 40,000 square feet of Cradle to Cradle certified hardwood flooring and carpet, provided by Shaw Floors. Cradle to Cradle certified products and designs use renewable energy, maintain and enhance water quality and honors social fairness and human dignity, according to architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart, who wrote the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Make It Right’s Bancroft School Apartments in Kansas City, MO. Photo credit: Make It Right

The units also feature energy-efficient windows and sensors from Leviton that the occupant manage energy consumption and costs.

“We have come so far from the days of creating the Green Impact Zone to working for more jobs, greater energy efficiency and a better quality of life for all who live and work here," U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) said. "The repurposed Bancroft School now opens as a shining example of our progress, improvement and success.” 

Pitt founded Make It Right in 2007 to build green and affordable housing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, LA. The group partnered with 21 architects and embraced LEED and Cradle to Cradle standards for each project. Pitt's organization has also provided solar installations at various sites in New Orleans and Newark, NJ.

Visit EcoWatch’s GREEN BUILDING page for more related news on this topic.

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"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

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The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.