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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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Greensburg an LED Trailblazer

The City of Greensburg has recently completed a project wherebyall ofthestreet lights in town – 303 of them – are LED. The project was formally acknowledged with a community ceremony on January 20. According to the company in charge of this project, Greensburg is the first U.S. city to have 100% LED street lighting.

LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode”. Most people are familiar with LEDs as seen as the red and green lights on the faces of alarm clocks and electronic devices. In recent years, this technology has exploded and its applications have significantly expanded. There are many advantages to using LEDs over more traditional lights. First is the energy savings. The street lights selected by the City are 40% more efficient than traditional fixtures. Total monetary savings on energy and maintenance costs are estimated to be more than 70%. Another “green” feature of the LEDs is how they reduce the amount of night-time light pollution. By focusing downward toward the streets and sidewalks, they put the light where it is helpful and keep it out of the night sky. Star gazers will appreciate this feature.

To give readers an idea of how great a cost savings can potentially be realized by using this technology, we offer the example of Anchorage, Alaska. They’ve replaced a quarter of their street lights with LEDs; these 16,000 units are projected to save the city $360,000 annually, at current energy costs.

Greensburg’s Assistant City Administrator/Recovery Coordinator Kim Alderfer is understandably excited about the street lighting project: “To have 100% LED in town is incredible. We’re proud that this project was totally funded by outside grant money, without using any City funds.” A consortium of federal and state entities made the lighting fixtures possible: FEMA, Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Economic Development Administration, and Community Development Block Grant.

The project was engineered by Professional Engineering Consultants (headquartered in Wichita, Kansas), and installed by contractor BBC Electrical Services. The lights were manufactured by Beta Lighting. Thanks to the City for its vision and to the funders and companies who made it happen.

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