Quantcast

Find Out Which Celebrity Is Building Solar-Powered Homes for Native Americans

Renewable Energy

This article was originally published by NationSwell, a website dedicated to sharing the stories of innovative Americans who are working to move the country forward.

When Brad Pitt isn’t jet-setting from one exotic movie location to another and being a dad of six, he actually has some time to run a non-profit.

His organization, Make It Right, is most notable for building 150 sustainable (though slightly controversial) homes in Louisiana’s Lower Ninth Ward post-Hurricane Katrina.

Now, they’re making it right at Fort Deck, MT, home to the Sioux and the Assiniboine nations. According to an announcement, the non-profit has partnered with the tribes to build 20 super green homes for residents whose income levels are at or below 60 percent the area’s mean income, with a percentage of the homes reserved for seniors and disabled veterans.

Image courtesy of Make It Right

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

These LEED Platinum, solar-powered homes will have three or four bedrooms and two or three bathrooms each, and built with certified Cradle-to-Cradle vendors, which means they’re developed responsibly and use reclaimed materials. It’s certainly a big improvement from some of the current homes on the reservation, which are rife with black mold and structural problems, resulting in high utility bills due to inefficient design.

Image courtesy of Make It Right

The design team includes Make It Right staff, architects from Architecture for Humanity, GRAFT, Living Homes, Method Homes, Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative and William McDonough + Partners and low-income homeownership experts from Neighborworks America.

Read page 1

During the planning stages, organizers met with family members and community leaders about their needs and vision for these new homes, as well how the builders can preserve the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes (such as doorways that face the east or north and using tribally significant colors).

Image courtesy of Make It Right

“We are enthusiastic about these home designs that reflect traditional life ways while exemplifying deep green public-impact architecture,” said Architecture for Humanity architect Nathaniel Corum.

Fort Deck, America’s ninth-largest Native American reservation, has more than 6,000 tribe members living on the 2-million-acre reservation. Currently, more than 600 people are waiting for housing, which means overcrowding is all too common.

Image courtesy of Make It Right

“We hear stories from people who have nine families living in a five bedroom home and take ‘sleeping shifts’ to share the limited beds,” writes Make It Right communications director Taylor Royle. “Most homes are smaller, one or two bedrooms. We [met] a woman who shares a two bedroom home with her elderly mother and her brother’s family—she and her three children sleep on the floor in the living room.”

Besides the housing shortage, the Washington Post reported that the unemployment is more than 50 percent—about three out of every four children live in poverty—and there are widespread problems with alcohol and methamphetamines in the community.

Image courtesy of Make It Right

It will take much more than building these green homes to fix the reservation’s problems, but it takes steps like these to “make it right.” The project, which will start construction this year, will also include a sustainable master plan for the entire reservation.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less