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Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge

Apply for an opportunity to pilot your technology with Finance New Orleans, as it works to create a replicable model for well-built, innovative, resilient and affordable housing in New Orleans and beyond. The winning solutions will be implemented in up to 13 homes initially, in addition to receiving $50k+ in non-dilutive funding.


What Finance New Orleans is looking for?

Solutions for Climate-Resilient, Affordable Homes

Finance New Orleans (FNO) is looking to partner with solution providers for the sustainable development of properties slated for single-family home construction. Through this challenge, FNO is seeking to identify a shortlist of preferred providers that demonstrate the ability to lower the overall cost of building components, and increase resiliency and affordability for tenants and homeowners. This challenge will serve as a model for producing well-built, climate-resilient, affordable single-family homes for potential further developments within New Orleans and beyond.


Challenge Scope

Construction and Building Materials Solutions

Finance New Orleans seeks innovative solutions for affordable and green building materials and construction methods. Successful technologies will lower a building’s embodied carbon, increase resiliency to strong wind and flooding, increase indoor air quality, and/or lower energy demand. See the FAQ for detailed descriptions of these solutions.


Building Performance Solutions

Finance New Orleans is interested in building performance solutions for single-family homes that enhance energy and water efficiency and electrification; strengthen resilience to flooding, power outages, etc.; and reduce energy demand. See the FAQ for detailed descriptions of these solutions.


Labor Solutions

Finance New Orleans seeks creative labor solutions and construction processes that may increase local skilled workforce capacity, reduce the cost of utilizing high performance building materials, and expedite the construction assembly timeline. See the FAQ for detailed descriptions of these solutions.


What You Could Win

___ Pilot Your Technology within 13 Model Homes

FNO will utilize a $2M housing fund to deploy winning technology and finance the development of well-built, resilient homes in New Orleans with a target budget of $220k in total construction costs per unit. Additionally, the selected winner(s) are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in funding from Elemental and are encouraged to apply for up to $1M in additional investment via the Elemental program. See the FAQ for additional detail on fund allocation.

___ Unlock a Model for Scale in New Orleans

Finance New Orleans will work collaboratively with the selected winner(s) to unlock a path of innovative development that can be scaled and used as a model for additional properties slated for development within the City of New Orleans in the next 3-5 years.

___ Expand Your Technology’s Reach

Winner(s) will be shortlisted as preferred provider(s) for future Finance New Orleans properties and granted tailored access to the FNO and Elemental ecosystems, including but not limited to financiers, national developers, investors, and public financing agencies. Winners will also be eligible for storytelling and marketing opportunities throughout the deployment process, to be disseminated across Elemental and FNO platforms.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the following requirements and additional criteria as noted in the Official Rules:

  • Have at least two full-time employees
  • Be based or incorporated in the US
  • Fully comply with all local laws and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where you operate
  • Have solution that is relevant to the challenge scope areas identified
  • Demonstrate the ability to decrease the embodied carbon of building materials and/or to lower the overall cost of building components
  • Demonstrate potential to increase resiliency and/or affordability for tenants and homeowners
  • Agree and comply with official rules and other policies associated with this challenge



Where are the sites located?

There are a total of thirteen (13) sites planned for development; six (6) of the sites are located in Pontchartrain Park, and seven (7) are located in Central City.


How will funds dedicated for construction be allocated?

With a target budget of $220k in total construction costs per unit, the allocation of these funds available to winners is dependent on the technology (e.g., construction solutions will receive a larger share of available funds than energy efficiency solutions).


What type of construction and building materials solutions is FNO looking for?

Technologies can include but are not limited to prefabricated and modular construction, 3D printed homes, sustainable building products, air sealing, and resiliency protection measures.


What type of building performance solutions is FNO looking for?

Examples of solutions include building automation systems, early warning systems, building metering, clean energy/storage, and HVAC technologies.


What type of labor solutions is FNO looking for?

Applicants are encouraged to propose inventive approaches that integrate prefabrication, automation, skilled labor training, and other cutting-edge techniques to meet the objectives of the challenge.


Are applicants limited to single-family housing solutions?

While many of the sites are limited to single-family home solutions, FNO will consider technology applicable to duplexes and fourplexes for properties in Central City or otherwise allowed by zoning regulations.


I have more questions

More FAQs can be found in the ongoing Q&A document.


Meet the Judges

Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge Judges

  • Damon Burns, Chief Executive Officer, Finance New Orleans
  • Brenda Breaux, Executive Director, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority
  • Michelle Whetten, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, President & CEO, Accelerator for America
  • Chris Donald, Executive Director/CEO, DCHFA
  • Dawn Arnold, Executive Vice President & COO, Invest Atlanta
  • Evette Hester, Executive Director, HANO
  • Councilmember Freddie King, New Orleans City Council
  • Councilmember Lesli Harris, New Orleans City Council
  • Terence Smith, Chairman & CEO, Smith’s Research & Gradings
  • Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman & CEO, OHUB

Application Review Committee

  • Thrive NOLA
  • Solar Alternatives
  • City of New Orleans – Office of Community Development
  • New Orleans Startup Fund
  • The Beach UNO
  • Foundation for Louisiana

Public voting — details coming soon


Challenge Timeline

March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024

Application window opens

April 2, 2024, 12 p.m. CT

April 2, 2024, 12 p.m. CT

Q&A Session 1 (virtual)


April 2, 2024, 5 p.m. CT

April 2, 2024, 5 p.m. CT

Q&A Session 2 (virtual)


April 22, 2024, 11:59 p.m. CT

April 22, 2024, 11:59 p.m. CT

Application window closes

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Finalists notified

May 29, 2024, 1–4 p.m. CT

May 29, 2024, 1–4 p.m. CT

Pitch sessions (virtual)

May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024

Winners announced

June 25, 2024

June 25, 2024

Showcase event (in New Orleans)

The Fine Print

  • This challenge is being hosted by Elemental Excelerator in collaboration with Finance New Orleans and is unrelated to Elemental’s Cohort 13 application process.
  • More details can be found in the Official Rules.



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.



Stay Tuned!

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