Greensburg, KS Tornado Recovery: Rebuilding Green

After the 2007 Greensburg, KS tornado, residents treated tornado recovery as an opportunity to transform into a green community.
By Megan Phelps
August/September 2009
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Signs of the Greensburg, KS tornado recovery: the Silo Eco-Home, first in a series of 12 eco-homes, is set to be completed in the summer of 2009.

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Two years ago, after the Greensburg, KS tornado destroyed nearly the entire town, residents decided that tornado recovery would be more than a matter of rebuilding. They redesigned their community as a model green community.

The nonprofit organization Greensburg GreenTown is building eco-homes (12 total) as a “living laboratory” of green design. Each home will showcase different building techniques and provide opportunities for visitors to learn about green building firsthand.

The first home, to be completed this summer, is called the Silo Eco-Home. It will serve as the organization’s office, and will provide space for demonstrations and overnight stays for visitors. The building is a 2,000-square-foot single-family home, with a 2-kilowatt solar-electric system, a cistern for rainwater harvesting, passive ventilation, and water-saving technology. The concrete in the walls and roof will be made with crushed concrete recycled from the storm wreckage, making the structure strong enough to survive nearly any storm.

Learn more at the Greensburg GreenTown website.

Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on .

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