We have been actively involved in the community since May of 2007. The idea for GreenTown began with a concept paper we developed, offering help for the greening of Greensburg which was shared with community leaders at the first post-tornado meeting on May 11, one week following the storm. What follows are highlights from our history and an overview of ongoing projects.
Building Projects and Green Design
The Chain of Eco-Homes Project is a series of demonstration homes designed to be “Living Laboratories” featuring a variety of building techniques, sizes, prices, and energy efficiency features. Each home will be available both as an informational center and as eco-lodging where people can experience green living first-hand. This is the first such project in the nation and is key to developing an eco-tourism industry in Greensburg. The Silo Eco-Home is the first to be completed and an international competition was held in 2009 where we chose the design for the next in the chain.
Greensburg Cubed consists of four sustainable demonstration cubes designed and donated by the Kansas State University School of Architecture and Design. Features include: a wind turbine, rainwater collection, composting toilet, solar hot water heater, reclaimed materials, and alternative types of insulation. Completed in May 2008.
Kansas State University Architecture Students worked on a semester-long project to design sustainable and affordable residences for Greensburg. They produced six designs that take into account the particular geography, weather, and style preferences of the local community. The designs are available for free to local residents. Final review took place in December 2008.
University of Colorado Architecture Students worked on a year-long residential design project for the Greensburg community. All of their designs incorporated a straw bale or wheat board wall system. Final review took place in May 2009.
GreenTown GreenTours were developed to show people from around the world the green sites of significance around town. GreenTown has provided tours since 2007, and launched its more formal GreenTour program in May 2009. Since then, over 1,000 visitors from 32 states and 4 foreign countries have taken our guided tour.
The Green Club grew out of local high school students’ desire to help with recycling, education, and other projects related to the Green Initiative. Activities have included: recycling, CFL light bulb exchange project, and representing Greensburg at conferences throughout the country. Formed in December of 2007.
The Kiowa County Farmers Market is a joint project of the Kiowa County Extension Service, the City of Greensburg, and Greensburg GreenTown. On a typical Saturday, offerings have included: local jams and honey, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, local vegetables, and homemade baked goods. The market re-opened in May 2008.
A Reclaimed Lumber Project was launched to make use of fallen trees around Greensburg. Instead of hauling them off to the landfill, Greensburg GreenTown hired a tree removal specialist to cut and salvage the wood to be used for furniture and interior trim. Wood salvaged in December 2008.
Wellness Retreat: GreenTown put together a retreat day for women, offering free massages, spa services and gift baskets to women. We served over 80 women at this "Queens for a Day" event held at Barclay College in Haviland in October of 2007. We also put together a wellness directory right after the storm, to direct people to mental health/alternative health resources in the area in addition to the local mental health care and traditional health care services available to residents.
Volunteer Opportunities: GreenTown has provided opportunities to hundreds of volunteers from around the country totalling thousands of hours of service. Projects have included working on GreenTown's Silo Eco-Home, assisting on a variety of construction projects throughout Greensburg, helping local businesses move into their new storefront and much more. We are forever grateful for the generosity of so many people.
The Anniversary Weekend is an annual event observing the May 4 tornado. The weekend is a time of remembrance and a celebration of progress, as Greensburg looks back and marks the past year's accomplishments. Outstanding efforts by individuals and businesses who have contributed to the Green Initiative are recognized at this time and applauded by GreenTown. Click here to see those who were recognized at the 2009 event.
Educational Presentations are a very important facet of our work. GreenTown staff and other individuals from Greensburg (City leaders, business owners, and community liaisons) regularly receive invitations to speak to groups and conferences throughout the country - and the world - about our Model Green Community. People are eager to hear about the inspiring story of Greensburg, the approaches that have been taken, and the lessons that have been learned. We are grateful that the Green Initiative here continues to garner interest. GreenTown staff have represented the community at dozens of events, including: Greenbuild 2009, Wichita Energy Conference 2010, several conferences sponsored by chapters of the U.S. Green Building Council throughout the U.S., Brainstorm:Tech hosted by Fortune magazine, and numerous classes and events. Click here for more information about some of the different events we have been a part of.
The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), a program of the United States Department of Energy, has partnered with GreenTown to document the new energy efficient buildings and projects in Greensburg. Information is entered into the Sustainable Building Database, which can be found on our website. This is an ongoing project which is updated as new buildings are opened. We have worked closely with NREL since the summer of 2007 to provide local residents, business owners, and governmental entities with the information and consulting they have needed for their sustainable rebuilding projects. Click here to view Greensburg on the database.
Home Energy Ratings have been conducted in Greensburg to determine the energy efficiency of the residential sector and to suggest improvements. As of July 2009, over 100 reports had been issued by the local energy auditor, a man that GreenTown staff recruited and arranged training for. The results from the energy tests conducted by the rater indicate that the average Greensburg home uses 41% less energy than a standard code home. GreenTown has co-sponsored training in Greensburg for other individuals seeking to become certified as Energy Auditors.
Wichita State University has partnered with GreenTown to work with students on senior projects focusing on sustainability issues. Greensburg will be used as a case study and projects will be aimed at helping GreenTown provide more detailed information on local projects. Launched in February 2010.
National and International Media outlets have turned to GreenTown as the first point of contact when developing a news story about Greensburg. We are proud to be a resource for all the news channels, radio programs, and various publications who have taken an interest in our story. We look forward to continuing to aid those who want to tell the incredible story of this community. Click here to see a collection of news stories featuring Greensburg.
The Kiowa County Signal began featuring a weekly GreenTown column in November 2007, allowing us to reach a local audience and regularly share all the exciting news about the Green Initiative.
Distribution of Donations to the Community
Caroma USA donated 400 dual-flush low-flow toilets and dozens of sinks to Greensburg residents. It is estimated that these toilets are saving up to 2,500,000 gallons of water per year over the pre-storm toilets in town. 2008
Evolve Showerheads donated 260 low-flow showerheads which are in use in the community. The average family of three can save up to 2,700 gallons of water per year. 2008
OneCleanWorld Foundation donated over 500 copies of the book Clean: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing for distribution to folks in the community, and is coming to town to put on a green cleaning demonstration. 2010
Viega has so far donated over forty water-saving plumbing manifolds to the community. The company is hoping to donate a total of 300 units to county residents and businesses. 2008 to present
TADGreen donated 300 sets of microfiber kitchen and bath cloths to Greensburg residents. The company estimates that if each household in the U.S. replaced one roll of paper towels with an E-cloth, we could save 544,000 trees annually. 2009
Quick n Brite contributed a container of their multi-purpose, environmentally-friendly cleaner to every household in Greensburg. 2009
The Glass reFactory, a nonprofit organization located in Appalachia, provided suncatchers crafted from 100% recycled glass to each resident. 2008
Wal-Mart, Planet Green, and NREL/Midwest Research Institute/Battelle each have donated large quantities of reusable shopping bags to the community, which GreenTown has distributed to residents at our office, at community events, and at the local farmers market. 2008
Ogden Publications offered subscriptions to Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines to area residents affected by the tornado. GreenTown distributed subscription cards to residents at our office and community events. 2007