Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Brad Pitt's Nonprofit Delivers LEED Platinum Homes to Fort Peck Reservation

Business

Make It Right, the nonprofit organization founded by actor Brad Pitt, has delivered the first five of 20 LEED Platinum, cradle to cradle-inspired homes to the Fort Peck reservation in Montana, home to the Sioux and the Assiniboine nations.

Five families have moved into their brand new, environmentally friendly abodes after the tribes and foundation kickstarted this much-needed housing project more than two years ago.

The reservation, with a population of 6,000, currently faces a dire housing shortage. About 600 people are in desperate need of housing, according to Make It Right. Overcrowding is also a problem; it's not unusual for multiple families to squeeze together in the same house.

The Make It Right houses are reserved for seniors, disabled veterans and tribe members whose income levels are at or below 60 percent the area's mean income. According to USA Today, there were 127 applications for the homes. Tenants were preselected through a lottery system.

These solar and geothermal powered homes come in several styles and have between 3 to 4 bedrooms and 2 to 3 bathrooms each. With these green building features, the homes are 75 percent more energy efficient compared to conventional homes, which translates to utility bills that are less than $60 a month even in the winter, USA Today reported.

Additionally, through a Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent-to-Own program, the tenants will get to buy their homes after 15 years of renting.

In a recent blog post to celebrate November's Native American Heritage Month, Make it Right shared the story of a Fort Peck resident named Melissa who moved into her new home with her two children, Zoey and Aiden, in the first week of November.

"It has changed us in big and small ways," she said. "We now live much closer to my parents and extended family."

Melissa is also paying much less for utilities, which used to cost her $160 a month or more.

"In our new solar-powered home, we will pay less than half of our old bill, even in the harsh Montana winter, even in a much bigger house," she said. "I am using the savings to do more activities with Zoey and Aiden on the weekends."

In 2013, Make It Right architects and designers spent four days meeting with tribe members before developing their designs. Tribe members explained that many homes in the area are rife with black mold and structural problems, resulting in high utility bills due to inefficient design.

USA Today reported that the homes cost around $235,000 each. The tribes are doing $2 million to $3 million in infrastructure work, including installing roads and sewer and water lines, said Deb Madison, a board member of the tribes' company, Integrated Solutions.

Besides their work in Fort Deck, Pitt's nonprofit notably built 150 sustainable homes in Louisiana’s Lower Ninth Ward post-Hurricane Katrina. Make It Right has also built homes in Newark and Kansas City.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

6 Super Cool Tiny Houses Made From Shipping Containers

World’s First Robotic Farm to Produce 30,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Day

Tesla’s Massive Gigafactory Will Be Net Zero Energy, Powered by 100% Renewables

21 of the Most Outrageously Cool Chicken Coops (Which Is Your Favorite?)

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less