The kudos for Make It Right New Orleans, the post-Hurricane Katrina housing initiative launched by Brad Pitt, continue to roll in. Recently, the USGBC declared the neighborhood being built under the initiative to be “the largest and greenest community of single-family homes in the world.” The initiative is a collaboration between Pitt, entrepreneur Steve Bing, Graft architects, Cherokee Gives Back, and William McDonough + Partners.

Make It Right has 13 LEED Platinum-certified home and is building at least 150 storm-resistant, LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward neighborhood, a region severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Fifty homes are scheduled to be completed by December 2009.

Sustainable features of the homes include solar power, geothermal heating and cooling systems, tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances, and efficient lighting. The homes also include storm-resistance features such as 5-foot or 8-foot elevations to protect the structure from flooding; impact-resistant glass or hurricane fabric to protect windows; rooftop access; and mold-free paperless dry wall.

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi noted, “In facing our nation’s unprecedented economic and environmental crises, we must change the way the places in which we live, work, learn and play are built and operated. What we’re seeing with green building goes beyond energy-efficiency to transformation of entire communities—and the lives of the people who live there. Make It Right has proved that green building can be both affordable and high performing.”

Also during the CGI summit, President Clinton announced a commitment to a national Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finance program. The PACENOW coalition, formed earlier this year to promote PACE finance programs, also announced the goal of securing support for accelerated PACE program adoption by 50 mayors and 50 municipalities. PACE finance programs are operated at a municipal level and through them, support PACE bonds, where the proceeds are lent to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy retrofits. These property owners then replay their loans over 20 years via an annual assessment on their property tax bill.