USGBC Secures Land for Haiti Orphanage
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has secured the land it needs to build a promised new orphanage and children’s center in Port au Prince, Haiti. The effort would replace an orphanage operated by nonprofit Fondation Enfant Jesus that was destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake from which Haiti is still recovering. Fondation Enfant Jesus provides medical, housing, educational, and adoption services to approximately 250 children per year; the new orphanage will shelter about 25 infants a month while they receive medical care before adoption.
HOK is providing pro bono design services for the 7,500 ft2 building, which USGBC has pledged will be the first LEED-certified orphanage in Haiti, and which Roger Limoges, chief of staff at USGBC, told EBN was targeting Platinum. Due to disrupted infrastructure, the building will be able to operate “completely off the grid,” said Limoges. “You can’t take a chance on losing power when you’ve got babies in incubators.”
The building will not only meet the needs of children orphaned by the earthquake but will also support the local economy and help train Haitian workers in green building. Limoges said the design is also “very sensitive to the culture of Haiti,” based on information gathered from multiple visits and tours of other orphanages.
USGBC first announced Project Haiti in November 2010 at Greenbuild, and in September 2011 it made a formal commitment to the project at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. The initiative’s interest in the project, said Limoges, stemmed in part from its ability to be a “globally replicable model” of sustainable building in developing nations. “This proves you don’t have to weaken standards based on the country that you’re trying to build in,” Limoges said. He added that the project would be highlighted in both the opening and closing keynotes at Greenbuild 2011 in Toronto, where HOK will unveil the design.
More than half of the $850,000 needed for the project has been raised or pledged, with $357,000 left to go.
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Published September 22, 2011