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Who We Are

Greensburg GreenTown is a charitable nonprofit organization working in Greensburg, Kansas to rebuild the town following the devastating tornado in May of 2007. The town has made a remarkable comeback, reinventing itself as a model for sustainable building and green living now recognized around the world. GreenTown works to make green building and living easily understood, appealing and accessible to all.

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Friday
Jul182014

As we say goodbye

Life is a funny thing. People come into it, people go out of it, and everything revolves around change. Change is the only constant we will ever experience. For the past seven years, Greensburg GreenTown has been evolving and changing. Interns come, interns go, and Greensburg GreenTown continues to help others and provide guidance and assistance.

We have reached a time where we have to yet again say goodbye to two of our interns. However, the difference this time is that we will not be welcoming in new AmeriCorps interns; Jana and Jason will be our last. So now, as a part of that changing process, we can reflect and look back on their time with us and the impact all of our interns have had on our organization. All ten of our AmeriCorps Interns came from different corners of the nation, all sharing that desire to learn, give, and make a meaningful impact on Greensburg and other disaster communities. Each one of them brought different talents and perspectives, and each immensely supported the Greensburg community and sustainable disaster recovery effort. They are a great group of folks with big hearts and even bigger ambitions.

In addition to the interns, Daniel, Catherine, and Ruth Ann have been the strong constants that have experienced all of the change of interns and continue to encourage, enlighten, and support others. They are undeniably incredible people who deserve a magnitude of appreciation.

So while change can feel hard, uncomfortable, or cumbersome, the people you meet and the impact you can make is worth it all. Greensburg GreenTown always wants to help as many people as possible, and we hope that that is something that will never change.

Thank you to all those who continue to support our organization. It’s that support that keeps us moving!

Wednesday
May142014

Meeting of the Mayors to Talk "Green"

Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert, Joplin homeowner Hugh Shields, Greensburg Mayor Bob Dixson

On Monday, May 12, Greensburg, Kansas Mayor Bob Dixson traveled to Joplin to meet with Mayor Mike Seibert to talk "green". The purpose of this visit was to invite Joplin media to accompany the mayors as they toured two of the city's most sustainable projects. Mayor Dixson was given an overview of Joplin's recovery progress, 3 years post-tornado, and shared what Greensburg has learned in the 7 years since an EF-5 destroyed nearly 95% of the town, and the decision was made to build back as a model green community.

The first stop was the home of Hugh and Ramona Shields. The couple lost their home in the tornado three years ago and decided to build back using a SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) wall system. The southern wall of their home features a bank of large windows, and the angle of the roof overhang ensures that they take full advantage of winter sun; this same angle blocks the summer sun. The past two winters they have not used any fossil fuel! They have instead relied on a very small load of wood to use in their stove, and heat is retained in the thermal mass provided by their internal concrete safe room (which doubles as their closet) and concrete floors. They estimate that their energy bills average out to about $1 a day - the figure promised by their energy efficiency consultant. Their home was completely paid for by their insurance coverage.

Next the mayors visited Advanced Orthotics and Prosthetics, a Joplin business that was destroyed in the tornado. Owners Frank and Valarie Ikerd had the dream of building back as environmentally conscious as possible. They chose the TF Forming System ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms) for their wall, which has been rated to withstand 200 m.p.h. winds and offers superior energy efficiency as well. Frank has just started seeing patients this month and the Ikerds are eager to see how well they are doing in energy savings when they get their first bill. Additionally, a memorial to the tornado is in the works, in the form of a floor in the reception area fashioned from trees collected from friends who experienced loss during the storm. A myriad of other features, including smart technology and dual-flush toilets, round out the sustainable package found in their building. They hope to inspire other businesses to follow their lead.

Mayors Seibert and Dixson shared post-tornado experiences with each other and found a lot of common ground. They discussed the importance of community, of taking time when making rebuilding decisions, and the challenges and opportunities associated with leading their respective cities through the next phases of growth. 

Green Town Joplin worked closely with Amy Jordan Wooden, a Kansas City-based PR consultant who was hired to coordinate the event on behalf of Communities on Climate. They have a goal to raise awareness about climate change and encourage local communities to do more to meet its associated challenges. Highlighting some of Joplin's success stories - undertaken independently post-tornado by local residents - is very newsworthy and the tour was well-received by local media. Thanks to the following outlets for covering Monday's story:

Joplin Globe

Fox TV channel 14

KY-3 Springfield

KODE/KSN

KZRG Radio

 

Tuesday
Apr222014

New 'green' ride

Greensburg GreenTown has listed our Natural Gas Vehicle for sale this week! We are finding that we just don't use it enough, and we want it to find a great home to go to! It's a great car, low in mileage, and has a great story behind it. Details about the car and the listing can be found here

If you would like to find a fueling station near you, click here. Additionally, if you would like your own charging station, GreenTown is offering our station for sale here

 

 

Thursday
Mar132014

Greensburg's Cromwell Solar Energy Presentation 

Greensburg had a great presentation from Cromwell Solar on Tuesday evening. Cromwell Solar is out of Lawrence, Kansas and specializes in the relationship between people and the buildings and environment in which they live and work. Solar energy is a technology that Greensburg has not widely used up to this point, but solar is a great way to make Greensburg a 'greener' and 'cleaner' community to live in and visit. If you would like to learn more about the presentation Cromwell's Senior Project Developer, Ian Spomer, gave to local residents, please click on this link

Cromwell Solar on Boulevard Brewing Company

Wednesday
Feb262014

A Visit to Greensburg Will Help in the Philippines

On February 20, 2014, Greensburg GreenTown met with Thomas McAloon and Eric Chetwynd, who are affiliated with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). They were en route overseas to help in the recovery of the city of Tacloban in the Philippines. Tacloban was hit by Typhoon Haiyan on November 7 last year; the storm destroyed 90% of the community and took more than 6,000 lives throughout the Philippines. Tom and Eric will be visiting Tacloban and other ravaged cities, and will encourage, as appropriate, a restoration strategy that incorporates energy, resource and environmental conservation. They came to Greensburg to meet with community leaders and glean information from the local Green Initiative that will be useful in their work.

A boy cycles past a coffin amid scenes of devastation after typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, the Philippines.

Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Specifically, they sought to learn more about the following:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan242014

National "Shout Out For Solar" Day

        

Solar energy has transformed the way individuals, communities, and industries think about energy. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is "the power behind solar energy." They are strong supporters and believers of solar energy, and they are so pleased to see the widespread acceptance and growth of using the sun for energy. As a way to celebrate, they have declared today National "Shout Out for Solar" Day, and are launching their new social media campaign, America Supports Solar. We hope you will take a couple of minutes to check out some of these very encouraging statistics about the industry from SEIA's email, below.

  40 years ago today, on January 24, 1974 five people met in the noisy basement of the Washington Hilton and agreed to create the Solar Energy Industries Association, dedicated to supporting the widespread growth of solar. 

How times have changed! Today, solar is generating enough electricity to power 2 million American homes, including the White House and leading companies like Walmart, Apple, Costco, Kohl's and IKEA. SEIA is leading the fight to expand markets, remove market barriers, strengthen the industry and educate Americans about the benefits of solar energy.

In recognition of this tremendous success, hundreds of thousands of people from across the United States and around the world taking part in National “Shout Out For Solar” Day today. This first-of-its-type event is being enthusiastically supported by hundreds of business and environmental groups nationwide on FacebookTwitter and other social media platforms.

Educating Americans about the benefits of clean, reliable and affordable solar energy is at the heart of a new social media campaign, America Supports Solar, launching today. Moving forward, we will be using this platform as a way to showcase the industry’s innovations, continued growth and successes.

When all of the figures are in for 2013, solar – for the first time since the late 1980’s – is expected to account for more new electric capacity in the U.S. than any other source of renewable energy.

Every day via social media, millions of people around the world voice their support for solar energy and the enormous opportunities it provides for the future. National “Shout Out For Solar” Day will help to showcase this passion and excitement.

Thank you for all that you do,

Ken Johnson
Vice President
Solar Energy Industries Association

Wednesday
Jan222014

Greening Greensburg by Peter Brewitt of Orion Magazine

Over the summer, the Greensburg GreenTown team and folks in the Greensburg community had the pleasure of meeting Peter Brewitt, a writer for Orion magazine. Peter visited to learn the comprehensive story of the town and gather information to write an article for the magazine. Well a few months later, the article has been released, and we think it's great! Peter did a great job of illustrating the revival process and capturing the impressive strides Greensburg has taken. We strongly encourage you to read his article and listen to the audio slideshow he helped put together. Thank you, Peter, for visiting and helping us share Greensburg's bountiful stories of rejuvenation! 

Wednesday
Dec182013

Greensburg GreenTown 2013 Year in Review

2013 marks a year of great visitors, experiences, and lessons for the GreenTown family. We continue to be a proud member of the Greensburg community and share the inspiring story of Greensburg’s rejuvenation and community union. If you have not had a chance to visit us in the Silo Eco-Home, let us share with you some of the impactful moments from 2013.

As many readers know, sustainability and disaster recovery are our focus, and we do this on multiple scales. We love having Greensburg as our foundation with the added ability to reach out to other disaster-struck communities from the comforts of our local office. We hated to see the disaster community grow this year due to this year’s floods, tornados and wildfires, but we are honored to be welcomed into these communities and provide assistance to those in need. We have lent our support to folks who faced flooding in Colorado and tornadoes in Oklahoma last spring, and have reached out to several cities in Illinois and Indiana that were devastated by tornadoes last month. With each community we work with we illustrate Greensburg as an example of triumph. Additionally, our affiliate in Joplin is helping the community on its road to recovery, providing valuable optimism and resources.

Another significant aspect of the recovery process is continual support and discussion. Tourism helps both of these elements. Greensburg GreenTown has had many great visitors this past year, expanding from all corners of the United States and around the globe. We have had amazing tours with countless schools and their incredible students, as well as working with many international visitors from Japan, China, Denmark, Moldova, Canada, and other countries. Each visitor has brought with them new ideas and captivating stories, a true gift for us. One of the most influential visitors we had this year came from Orlando, Florida. Debbie Petersen, a Walt Disney Imagineer, met with GreenTown, the community, and students to help ‘Imagineer’ Greensburg’s next steps.  Her cheerful optimism and creative insight left us with great ideas to further discuss.

GreenTown is continually working on projects to spread the idea of sustainable disaster recovery - locally, nationally, and globally. Our second annual Sustainable Disaster Recovery Conference in St. Louis was a huge success, bringing together national representatives, organizations, and leaders to build a stronger disaster preparation and recovery network. GreenTown is also working on the Sustainable Disaster Recovery Handbook, an invaluable resource to be put immediately into the hands of residents who face a disaster. The handbook will be available Spring 2014, but we encourage you to look at the editorial version available at afsnetwork.squarespace.com.

Greensburg will forever be the town that sparked the “rebuilding  green” idea, but the vision isn’t stopping there. We often ask ourselves, “What can GreenTown do next?” We encourage your participation, suggestions, and support to help us answer this question. We could not be any more proud of our accomplishments in 2013, and we are driven to make 2014 even more successful. Our hope is that the local Greensburg community and Greensburg GreenTown can further strengthen our relationship as we work here in the community and help with the renewal of other towns like ours. Please check out our website at greensburggreentown.org or visit us at the Silo Eco-Home to see how you can get involved!

On behalf of Greensburg GreenTown, thank you and Happy Holidays!





 

Monday
Dec162013

GreenTown Joplin Year in Review

Our GreenTown Joplin affiliate has pulled together a list of its accomplishments for the year. We are happy to report that we reached a lot of people in Joplin with our sustainability message in 2013 - thanks to our staff, an amazing local advisory group, and dedicated student interns. We invite you to check out what they’ve been up to in this Year in Review report and to head over to the website to read more. Thank you for your interest and support this year!

Friday
Nov222013

Conference Debriefing - Part One

 

Lisa LaDue speaks to Personal & Community Resilience

The second annual Sustainable Disaster Recovery Conference is behind us, and we are pleased to report on its success. The keynote speakers were inspiring; the breakout sessions, informative; the attendees, eager to learn. We accomplished what we set out to do - namely, strengthen a national network of folks working in the disaster recovery field who will continue to share information and offer support to each other long after the conference is over. GreenTown's collaboration with the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University made for great synergy in this endeavor.

In coming weeks we will post photos, PowerPoints and videos of the sessions. If you were unable to attend you will still be able to take advantage of the depth of knowledge and experience offered by our presenters.

We are grateful to have had the conference covered by blogger Diane MacEachern, based in Washington, D.C. Diane wrote this fine article for Big Green Purse and we think she captured the spirit of the event quite well.

GreenTown's role in establishing a national Sustainable Disaster Recovery Network is two-pronged. As  facilitator/networker/convener we bring together folks who are working toward common goals and we help them vision what's possible in communities, post-disaster. And as information gatherer and sharer, we provide current, comprehensible, unbiased resources to individuals and communities in need. We are in the process of formalizing the infrastructure of this Network and will keep you posted here and on our Facebook page.