Insights > When It Rains, It Pours. Here's How We’re Helping to Create a More Sustainable New Orleans
When It Rains, It Pours. Here's How We’re Helping to Create a More Sustainable New Orleans
A long-term partnership between Entergy and Green Light New Orleans continues to help create sustainable, healthy and vibrant communities through a one-of-a-kind rain barrel program and volunteerism.
Through the program, 50-gallon olive barrels are given a new lease on life as works of sustainable art. First the barrels are cleaned, and painted by community members, Entergy volunteers and local artists. Then, they are installed in the gutter downspouts of local homes to help reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff and reduce carbon emissions.
Residents who participate in the rain barrel program capture rainwater in barrels, then release it once the ground is dry or use it to irrigate their garden. The catchment system diverts some of the water that would runoff into storm drains which could lead to flooding. For those using the water for irrigation, it helps conserve municipal water use.
One installed barrel can catch 7% of runoff water from a 1,000 sq. ft. roof in a 1 ¼ in. rain fall, which helps mitigate flooding around a home, limits subsidence and lowers the stress on the City’s water pumping systems. Since the program’s start in 2015, 1,178 rain barrels have been installed resulting in more than 2.5 million gallons of stormwater intercepted.
“The combination of heavier rainfall, rising sea levels, faster strengthening hurricanes, the loss of wetlands and subsidence makes New Orleans one of the most vulnerable cities to climate change,” said Andreas Hoffmann, Green Light New Orleans’ executive director. “By adopting new ways of doing things that align with nature, we can slow down and mitigate the effects of climate change. Our longtime partnership with Entergy allows us to educate and serve our community as a collective effort to conserve water and reduce flooding and subsidence on a large scale.”
Entergy New Orleans’ partnership with Green Light New Orleans also provides Entergy New Orleans employees a unique opportunity to be a part of the nearly 18,500 volunteers helping to ensure a lasting environmental impact to New Orleans.
“Volunteering with Green Light was interesting and important because we learned something new and were able to serve our own neighborhoods,” said Stacie Palazzo, a senior manager in Entergy’s continuous improvement group. “We had fun painting the barrels, but we especially loved putting Entergy’s mission into action by helping to improve lives.”
Alongside the rain barrel program, Entergy has granted nearly $400,000 in shareholder-funded contributions since 2007 to help support Green Light’s other environmental initiatives including the installation of more than 608,000 free energy-efficient lightbulbs and cultivation of 601 backyard gardens in food-insecure neighborhoods.
Interested in a rain barrel for your home? Visit Green Light New Orleans.
And see more steps Entergy is taking to address the risks of climate change.
Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy:
For more than 100 years, Entergy has powered life in our communities through strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives help create and sustain thriving communities, position the company for sustainable growth and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our top CSR priorities are education/workforce development, poverty solutions/social services and environmental programs. Entergy annually contributes $16-$18 million in shareholder-funded grants to approximately 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the communities where we operate. In addition, our employees volunteer more than 100,000 hours in those communities values at more than $3 million.