Devastated by Torando

Essay by colelaj November 2009

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To help spark Greensburg economic revival some new intuitions, such as $3.4 million “Sun Chips Business Incubator which offers low-cost office space and technical assistance sole practitioners like lawyers and designers as well as entrepreneurial business start-ups. Frito-Lay (a division of Pepsi Co) donated $1 million toward the building costs; state and federal funding covered much of the rest; actor Leonardo Dicaprio contributed $400,000. In addition the town launched a grassroots community-based organization Greensburg Green Town which has worked side-by-side with city and county officials, business owners and local residents to incorporate sustainable principles into their rebuilding process. Teaching residents how to improve efficiency and reduce their environmental impact in the old farmer sprit of doing more with less.

In a little over two years, Greensburg has made an amazing amount of progress. Homeowners and business were encouraged to do the best they could-at least installing energy efficient windows and appliances, better insulation, fuel-efficient heating, and low-flow toilets.

An Australian company even donated 200 water-saving toilets that are expected to save 2.6 million gallons (9.9 million liters) of water per year. Greensburg is also among the first in the nation to light its streets with LED lamps. These new lamps save 70% in energy and maintenance costs over the old sodium vapor lights, and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 40 tons a year. Today, hundreds of environmentally friendly homes-most with reinforced “safe rooms” in their basements are all over the town. Greensburg Green Town is building a dozen model “eco-homes to showcase cutting edge sustainable design. City leaders are using solar and wind technologies to harness power and geothermal heat. The town’s John Deere dealership also used the opportunity to created by the tornado to start over. Its new state-of-the-art facility uses recycled oil to heat and cool its floors, wind turbines to create electrical power and lights that don’t require electricity. The dealership estimates that even though it cost more up front to building this way, the business will save $25,000 a year in energy costs.

By the standards of independent-minded western Kansas, the green rebuilding process has involved an unusual degree of meeting and group decision-making. Some of the projects have confounded local residents who care more about getting life back to normal than saving the environment. Most residents and business owners expressed concerns that green plan would increase costs and slow the process of getting construction permits. Those who have added energy -saving designs and equipment report that the higher initial installation costs have been more than offset by signifnically lower operating costs.

Greensburg repents the greatest commitment to green building anywhere in the U.S. Greensburg’s new slogan reads “Greensburg: Better, Stronger, Greener!”I chose Greensburg Kansas, as my topic because I watched the first season of Greenburg’s rebuilding process on the Green Planet network. I was amazed how the city emerged from disaster and made a consensus decision to rebuild their town greener and become a modeler town for the future.

Works CitedGertz, Emily. “Putting the “Green: in Greensburg: A Tornado-Ravaged Town Reinvents Itself.” 12 June 2009: 1-3. Web. 19 Nov 2009.

Graham, Lamar. “ The Greenest Town in America.” Parade.com19 April 2009: 1-3. Web 19 Nov 2009.

McClelland, Carol. “Rebuilding Greensburg, KS: A Look at an Emerging Green Economy.” 8 Oct 2009: 1 Web. 19 Nov 2009.


Nguyen, Betty, and Jason Morris. “After Tornado, Town Rebuilds by Going Green.” .

Proefrock, Philip. “Greensburg KS to Rebuild as LEED Platinum City.”Green Building Elements 28 Jan 2008: 1. Web 19 Nov 2009.


Schneider, Keith. “After a Tornado, Greensburg Kansas RebuildsGreen.” New York Times 22 September 2009: 1-2. Web 19Nov 2009.

“Devastated by Tornado, Kansas Town Rebuilds on Green Plan.” 20 April 2008: 1 Web. 19 Nov 2009.


“History &Vision.” Greensburg Green Town. 2007-2009.

Covive, Web 19 Nov 2009.