ICF Consulting has released an issue paper titled Rebuilding After Katrina: Smart Energy Choices, which analyses energy efficiency rebuild options for the reconstruction of thousands of homes in the US Gulf Coast region destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In the analysis, ICF Consulting modelled different levels of energy efficiency, using DOE-2 software, for 60,000 separate runs for a wide variety of single family homes in two climate zones. They then compared the impacts of a mass reconstruction, built to minimum building codes as a baseline for comparison, versus four increasingly more energy efficient standards.

The analysis demonstrates the importance of including energy efficiency criteria in any rebuild specifications. Two scenarios in particular showed promise. A ‘quick payback’ scenario illustrates that a $200 million incremental investment in energy efficiency in 310,000 destroyed homes will pay for itself in just over two years. In an even more attractive long-term investment scenario, rebuilding those homes to the 2006 ENERGY STAR standard will have a payback of just 7.5 years and will save nearly $2.5 billion in the following 20 years – more if energy prices rise.

The full report can be found at