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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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« GreenTown's Green Building Products: Week 5 | Main | GreenTown's Green Building Products: Week 3 »

GreenTown's Green Building Products: Week 4

The past three weeks I have discussed sustainable features of the Silo Eco-Home’s building envelope, outdoor features, and flooring. This week, it’s time to talk about the plumbing and HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning) system. These systems and products were donated to GreenTown from Caroma, evolve, Noritz, BMK Plumbing & Solar of the Midwest, Johnson Controls, and cfm Distributors.

Products that conserve water play a big role for sustainability, especially in drought conditions like what Kansas is experiencing right now. The Silo’s dual flush toilets from Caroma and the water-saving evolve showerheads allow us to use 21,000 gallons of water per year LESS than households with conventional toilets and showerheads! Dual-flush toilets allow you to control the amount of water per flush in order to get the maximum utility from each usage. Caroma generously donated over 400 toilets, plus some sinks, to the people of Greensburg back in 2008. GreenTown distributed these throughout the community on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you will find them all over town. This single gift alone is saving the town millions of gallons of water annually, compared to pre-tornado usage. (Read this archived article for more info on this gift from Derek Kirkpatrick of Caroma, who traveled to Greensburg from British Columbia in support of the town's recovery.)

Our downstairs toilet: when you flush it, the sink runs to refill the tank, so you get two uses out of the water!

Evolve showerheads use less water than normal showerheads without compromising water pressure. This happens by restricting the flow of water from about 6 gallons of water per minute to 1.5 gallons of water per minute by directing the flow of water in a more efficient way. Additionally, ShowerStart Technology prevents you from wasting water before you get in the shower by reducing the flow of the water once it heats up saving both water and energy. A year after the tornado, Troy Sherman and Chevon Martin from evolve drove to Greensburg from Arizona to distribute the company's gift and pitched in with helping GreenTown's anniversary weekend activities.

Our tankless water heater from Noritz uses 40% less energy than conventional water heaters, which in turn saves 40% on our energy bill. The tankless water heater works by heating water instantaneously when you need it rather than heating it constantly. Walk through the process here.  The Silo’s plumbing comes from BMK Plumbing and Solar of the Midwest (Salina, KS). BMK offers a variety of services with solar energy including solar water pumping, solar water heating, and solar air systems. The sun’s natural energy is a great way to conserve resources and reduce your energy bill.

Johnson Controls donated their York split system heat pump to the Silo Eco-Home. A split-system heat pump is unique and energy efficient because it doesn’t require two separate systems for heating and cooling. Heat pumps do not use ducts and systems with ducts use about 30% more energy than heat pumps. Additionally, heat pumps take up less space than conventional HVAC units. We are thankful to cfm Distributors for the delivery of our York unit.

See you next week with more great, green products!