Green Design Greensburg KS

Published on January 28th, 2008 | by Philip Proefrock

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Greensburg KS to Rebuild as LEED Platinum City

Greensburg KS

The city of Greensburg KS was nearly obliterated by an F5 tornado in May 2007. But turning the devestation into an opportunity, the city is looking to make its mark by rebuilding as a green community. The city has mandated that all city buildings larger than 4,000 sq. ft. must be built to LEED-Platinum level and must have an energy performance level at least 42% better than current building code requirements.

“The city of Greensburg has taken the extraordinary step of committing to rebuild their community to a new vision, not settling for simply recreating what had gone before,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “By committing to a recovery plan based on green building, the community’s leadership has set a path that will result in a healthier, more livable city for its citizens, turning a crisis into an opportunity that is an example for us all.”

After a disaster, it is difficult to take the time and effort to try to build something better than what had been present before. This mandate only applies to city buildings. But hopefully, the wider city itself will embrace this direction, and not only will city buildings, but the stores, offices, homes, and other buildings will likewise be built better, and greener, than what they are replacing.




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About the Author

Philip Proefrock is an architect and photographer in southeast Michigan. He is also a LEED Acredited Professional. His professional involvement with green building includes working as project architect for the award-winning Malletts Creek Branch Library for the Ann Arbor District Library, which received the 2005 AIA Michigan Sustainable Design Award, and which was the first completed commercial vegetated roof (green roof) in the state of Michigan. He is an active member of Green Drinks Michigan/o2 Network. In addition to being lead writer for Green Building Elements, he is also a contributing writer for EcoGeek.org and for JetsonGreen.com. spurious nelogism (personal LiveJournal) Green Options articles StumbleUpon profile



25 Responses to Greensburg KS to Rebuild as LEED Platinum City

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  4. Heather says:

    Is the city giving consideration to rebuilding Greensburg in such a way that promotes active living, which is also key to sustaining health and wealth? Are provisions being made for designing buildings and pedestrian routes to be walkable and accessible by bike and on foot?

    Thank you and best wishes to Greensburg! For more information about active living, see Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research.

  5. Heather says:

    Is the city giving consideration to rebuilding Greensburg in such a way that promotes active living, which is also key to sustaining health and wealth? Are provisions being made for designing buildings and pedestrian routes to be walkable and accessible by bike and on foot?

    Thank you and best wishes to Greensburg! For more information about active living, see Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research.

  6. Beth says:

    I am all about green living and self-sustained building, but isn’t the city still in a tornado area? I would be afraid to live there…isn’t the likelihood of it getting destroyed again high? Not to be bringing down a good idea, I’m just making an observation. I wish them all luck…

  7. Beth says:

    I am all about green living and self-sustained building, but isn’t the city still in a tornado area? I would be afraid to live there…isn’t the likelihood of it getting destroyed again high? Not to be bringing down a good idea, I’m just making an observation. I wish them all luck…

  8. Jennie says:

    I was wondering why they are rebuilding square buildings which another tornado can take down. Why aren’t they looking into building any Monolithic Dome buildings around the town? Churches could be built in Monolithic style, the Schools could be as well as any Municipal buildings.

    The other concern I had is offsetting the basement or underground shelters so that the house cannot fall in on top of the folks down there. And, laugh at me if you want to… but what about slides to get down there in an emergency?

  9. Jennie says:

    I was wondering why they are rebuilding square buildings which another tornado can take down. Why aren’t they looking into building any Monolithic Dome buildings around the town? Churches could be built in Monolithic style, the Schools could be as well as any Municipal buildings.

    The other concern I had is offsetting the basement or underground shelters so that the house cannot fall in on top of the folks down there. And, laugh at me if you want to… but what about slides to get down there in an emergency?

  10. Jay dog says:

    I saw a few episodes of Greensburg rebuilding on the Green Channel. At first I was really intrigued by the prospect of “rebuilding” green, though I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. I thought I was going to see a lot of sustainable buildings and a city design that incorporated a new living style that would promote sustainability. Unfortunately, the town people were mostly against anything that was too avant garde, and wanted mostly to have their old “dying” city back. The way green is defined by the city is to have all the city buildings built to platinum LEED standards, which means that the buildings have to be 43% more energy efficient then current models. In order to achieve that all a building has to do is install new windows, insulating techniques, water heater, etc. I thought there was something really revolutionary going on in Greensburg, but its mostly a lot heart-felt stories about middle America and a few energy efficient buildings. If there is something I’m missing please let me know.

  11. Jay dog says:

    I saw a few episodes of Greensburg rebuilding on the Green Channel. At first I was really intrigued by the prospect of “rebuilding” green, though I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. I thought I was going to see a lot of sustainable buildings and a city design that incorporated a new living style that would promote sustainability. Unfortunately, the town people were mostly against anything that was too avant garde, and wanted mostly to have their old “dying” city back. The way green is defined by the city is to have all the city buildings built to platinum LEED standards, which means that the buildings have to be 43% more energy efficient then current models. In order to achieve that all a building has to do is install new windows, insulating techniques, water heater, etc. I thought there was something really revolutionary going on in Greensburg, but its mostly a lot heart-felt stories about middle America and a few energy efficient buildings. If there is something I’m missing please let me know.

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  14. Julie Peterson says:

    Requiring that the City of Greensburg should rebuild to a LEED Platinum standard is ludicrous. LEED Platinum is extremely difficult and expensive to attain, which I know because I am a LEED Accredited Professional. I can get on board with Cities requiring some green features and even using the LEED manual to get ideas for new buildings. The LEED Platinum requirement will delay the rebuilding process for years. This is not in the best interest of the people of Greensburg. In case you are wondering, I am from Central Kansas and I spent a couple days in Greensburg in 2005 (a couple years before the tornado hit – my former roommate is from Greensburg). The town has a lot of heart and hardworking people who deserve to be able to rebuild their town as they see fit.

  15. Julie Peterson says:

    Requiring that the City of Greensburg should rebuild to a LEED Platinum standard is ludicrous. LEED Platinum is extremely difficult and expensive to attain, which I know because I am a LEED Accredited Professional. I can get on board with Cities requiring some green features and even using the LEED manual to get ideas for new buildings. The LEED Platinum requirement will delay the rebuilding process for years. This is not in the best interest of the people of Greensburg. In case you are wondering, I am from Central Kansas and I spent a couple days in Greensburg in 2005 (a couple years before the tornado hit – my former roommate is from Greensburg). The town has a lot of heart and hardworking people who deserve to be able to rebuild their town as they see fit.

  16. Sean says:

    I wish the focus was more upon rebuilding a beautiful town with well-detailed streets (proper sidewalks, rows of non-ornamental trees, traditional architecture that defines the space of the street, etc) rather than being distracted by this green fad. The new art museum might look stunning in the photos, but it sits alone in an ugly field. The space isn’t properly defined. Greensburg was once a pretty little town on the high plains, but whatever construction is taking place is largely crap.

  17. Sean says:

    I wish the focus was more upon rebuilding a beautiful town with well-detailed streets (proper sidewalks, rows of non-ornamental trees, traditional architecture that defines the space of the street, etc) rather than being distracted by this green fad. The new art museum might look stunning in the photos, but it sits alone in an ugly field. The space isn’t properly defined. Greensburg was once a pretty little town on the high plains, but whatever construction is taking place is largely crap.

  18. shanti says:

    See http://www.greensburggreentown.org and the city site (http://greensburgks.org/) for updates to ongoing progress

  19. shanti says:

    See http://www.greensburggreentown.org and the city site (http://greensburgks.org/) for updates to ongoing progress

  20. Lynne says:

    I had stopped in Greensburg,Kansas in May of 2008 on a tornado watching tour. I thought wanting to see a tornado would be the highlight of my trip. But when I went through your town Greenburg,Kansas I had a lump in my throat. What devastation there still was 1 year later. I was wondering though did they ever rebuild the Post Office (I work for the postal service)or is it still in a trailer? I see so much is being rebuilt and I am proud of the people of Greensburg. They show America that with a little help and that if everyone sticks together that we all can make a difference in this world. But maybe just in our own backyard! Thank You Greensburg for showing what I can do to make this world alot better place. God Bless each and ever one of you!!!

  21. Lynne says:

    I had stopped in Greensburg,Kansas in May of 2008 on a tornado watching tour. I thought wanting to see a tornado would be the highlight of my trip. But when I went through your town Greenburg,Kansas I had a lump in my throat. What devastation there still was 1 year later. I was wondering though did they ever rebuild the Post Office (I work for the postal service)or is it still in a trailer? I see so much is being rebuilt and I am proud of the people of Greensburg. They show America that with a little help and that if everyone sticks together that we all can make a difference in this world. But maybe just in our own backyard! Thank You Greensburg for showing what I can do to make this world alot better place. God Bless each and ever one of you!!!

  22. Alfred Noyes says:

    I think the “green city ” thing is okay, but you could have made a substantial jump to cost effectiveness and safety by going with the ” hobbit ” look. It seems to me that everyone that has ever been in a Tornado tries to get underground anyway. An earth-sheltered home or business can be up to 90% more efficient than a conventional design. Lighting and the cave feeling can be taken care of by good design. If you add solar hot water and space heat ( when available ) it could really be ” green “.

  23. Alfred Noyes says:

    I think the “green city ” thing is okay, but you could have made a substantial jump to cost effectiveness and safety by going with the ” hobbit ” look. It seems to me that everyone that has ever been in a Tornado tries to get underground anyway. An earth-sheltered home or business can be up to 90% more efficient than a conventional design. Lighting and the cave feeling can be taken care of by good design. If you add solar hot water and space heat ( when available ) it could really be ” green “.

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