Nine years later, New Orleans continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. The opening of Heritage Senior Residences in March 2013 marked the final phase of housing in the master-planned, 52-acre Columbia Parc at the Bayou District in New Orleans, which replaces the former St. Bernard public housing project.

The 120-unit Heritage Senior Resi­dences, developed by Columbia Residential and Bayou District Foundation of New Orleans, provides energy-efficient housing for seniors 62 and older who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income.

Achieving LEED for Homes Platinum certification, the development includes a 67 kW solar electric system that reduces the electrical operating costs of the common areas; a tight building envelope with high insulation values and energy-­efficient windows; utility monitoring and water submeters in each unit; HVAC energy recovery systems; and energy-­efficient lighting and appliances.

“The biggest impact is it substantially lowers the energy costs for our residents, who are predominantly fixed-income seniors,” says Jim Grauley, president of Columbia Residential.

The $20 million development utilized specialized funding that the Housing Authority of New Orleans received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Katrina.