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Revolutionizing Housing: The Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge Showcase Unveils Future-Forward Solutions

June 26, 2024

· 4 min read
The Elemental Team
The Elemental Team

Meet the winners of the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge, hosted in partnership by Elemental and Finance New Orleans to bring sustainably built, climate resilient, and affordable housing to New Orleans and beyond.

The Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge Showcase, organized by Finance New Orleans and Elemental Excelerator, successfully highlighted transformative technology solutions poised to revolutionize energy efficiency, building performance, water conservation, solar and battery storage, and more. The event attracted an impressive array of climate technology innovators, city leaders, green banks, and investors, all eager to witness the future of a more resilient and sustainable New Orleans.

The four winners of the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge emerged as pioneers in their fields, heralding a new era of sustainable development and resilience for the city:

  • Gro Enterprises implements and manufactures carbon negative, high performance building materials sourced from industrial hemp, creating sustainable housing for the future of New Orleans.
  • Gradient makes high efficiency air conditioning and heating equipment that can be installed by anyone.
  • RainStick develops water and energy innovation technology for the home, allowing people to thrive using only 13 gallons of water per person daily.
  • Frontline Gig is an AI-driven workforce development platform that will connect 10 million blue-collar workers to the green economy.

Selected from a competitive pool of over 34 global climate technology companies, the chosen companies now stand ready to pilot their innovations in single-family home construction projects across various neighborhoods, starting with Gentilly and Central City. With the support of up to $50,000 in non-dilutive funding from Elemental Excelerator and collaboration with Finance New Orleans, these champions of innovation are set to forge a scalable path forward, ensuring their solutions contribute significantly to New Orleans’ sustainable future.

Damon Burns, CEO of Finance New Orleans, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating, “The Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge Showcase has demonstrated the power of innovation in addressing the critical climate and housing challenges we face. By bringing together the brightest minds in climate technology and public finance, we are paving the way for a sustainable and equitable future for all New Orleanians.”

The Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge Showcase arrived at a pivotal moment for the city, coinciding with National Homeownership Month and the commencement of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. Against the backdrop of these significant events, the showcase not only highlighted cutting-edge solutions to climate and housing challenges, but also underscored New Orleans’ commitment to fostering sustainable development and resilience.

As the city continues to grapple with environmental vulnerabilities exacerbated by climate change, the innovations presented at the event hold immense promise for bolstering infrastructure resilience and improving housing affordability. Moreover, the event served as a beacon of hope and action, demonstrating New Orleans’ proactive stance in preparing for future climate-related challenges while celebrating advancements in sustainable homeownership and community resilience.

Mark Chambers, Vice President of Partnerships at Elemental Excelerator, highlighted the significance of the program, saying, “The Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge underscores the importance of co-creating climate solutions with impacted communities. At Elemental Excelerator, we are merging the worlds of climate tech and public finance to accelerate community-driven solutions with greater local impact. This challenge is an exciting opportunity to partner more deeply with the city of New Orleans alongside an organization that has a deep-rooted history of serving the local community.”

The showcase was a cornerstone event in the movement towards a more resilient New Orleans, demonstrating the critical role of innovative technology in shaping the city’s future. Attendees were inspired by the potential of these technologies to transform New Orleans’ housing and infrastructure, making it more resilient and sustainable.

Stay connected with Finance New Orleans by visiting financenola.org, or call 504-524-5533 for more information.

About Finance New Orleans

Finance New Orleans is a housing and development finance agency serving all New Orleanians to better our community. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in New Orleans by directly investing in the creation of affordable housing and economic development projects that produce quality jobs and wealth for residents.

About Elemental Excelerator

Elemental is a nonprofit investor in climate technologies with deep community impact. Elemental has a 14-year track record of investing in companies scaling essential climate solutions that make neighborhoods and homes cleaner, healthier, safer, and more affordable. Elemental, which has successfully stewarded $180 million in government and philanthropic resources, de-risks technologies for additional investment and centers social equity and community impact in project deployment. For more information, visit elementalexcelerator.com.