How Would You Rebuild a Town - Green?

From Open Energy Information


The city of Greensburg, Kansas, is rebuilding as a model green community with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A tornado destroyed or damaged 95% of the town's homes and businesses on May 4, 2007. Greensburg turned disaster into opportunity and created a vision to rebuild as a sustainable community. The town has gathered a diverse group of experts, including DOE and NREL, to make their vision of rebuilding green a reality. This Tri-fold brochure provides information about the Greensburg Sustainable Building Database, which includes examples from Greensburg of the variety of buildings and projects that can save a community energy and increase renewable energy use. The information provided by this resource is a quick overview of how Greensburg underwent it's energy transformation after the natural disaster.  The Tri-fold includes information on what steps are important, from bringing the right people together, create a vision, develop goals, prepare a plan, gather feedback, finance, and create early success by education and outreach programs in the community.

Community Information
Name Greensburg, Kansas
Type City
Population 2,421[2]
Community Energy Goals All new homes will use 30%-40% less energy than before the tornado

New city buildings will achieve LEED Platinum certification Other commercial and public buildings will be designed to LEED Platinum or Gold rating levels 100% renewable electricity 100% of the time Reduce GHG emissions by 36% relative to pre-tornado emissions

Baseline Estimated 2005 energy consumption: 15.6 million kWh; 92 mcf; 1.6 million gallons gasoline; 415,000 gallons diesel (taken from Billman, 2009 report)
Results to Date 4 LEED Platinum commercial buildings

Of the first 190 homes built after the tornado, about half were analyzed for expected energy savings (heat and electricity), and averaged 40% less energy use than code Wind farm that produces 12.5 MW of energy, or enough to power every home, business, and municipal building in the town, as well as surrounding areas 2008 annualized total electricity use: 8 million kWh (with 800 out of the original 1,400 residents)


Based on lessons learned from technical assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Greensburg, Kansas, this resource features the Greensburg High Performance Buildings Database for information about different building aspects. This resource is a Tri-fold brochure.

Environmental Aspects

Greensburg's energy goals include: powering all local homes and businesses with "100% renewable energy, 100% of the time;" implementing residential and commercial retrofits that result in 40% and 30% energy savings, respectively, relative to buildings built to the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code with 2004 Supplement. Residential energy efficiency performance metrics: 52% of the new homes permitted between May, 2007 and March, 2009 were voluntarily rated for energy efficiency. Of these, 9 townhome rental units are projected to use 41% less energy than a standard home.  The total 33 homes that were renovated and measured will use on average 25% less energy than a standard home. 

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  1.  "How Would You Rebuild a Town - Green?"
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