Making a Difference

Ryan Evans and Jeremy Knoll

2010 Green Issue IconRyan Evans, 32, and Jeremy Knoll, 28, worked in Kansas—three states and 300 miles away from Louisiana. But when the friends learned that residents of New Orleans' Holy Cross neighborhood wanted to turn their storm-battered enclave into the nation's first carbon-neutral community, they saw an opportunity. In 2008, Evans, a mechanical engineer, and Knoll, an architect, took 350 volunteers to historic Holy Cross to restore and green homes. Their sustainable preservation efforts proved so successful that they incorporated a nonprofit called Historic Green, which helps dozens of neighbors retrofit their residences and save on energy bills each year. Historic Green volunteers also refurbish old windows, teach restoration techniques, and install innovative vapor barriers that inhibit the growth of mold. Knoll says residents can now afford to maintain energy-­efficient homes—and pass them along to their kids: "They're no longer priced out of their own neighborhood." Both entrepreneurs hope that communities around the world will benefit from their success. "Our model isn't being repeated anywhere on this scale," Evans says. "We hope to change that."

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