GREENsburg

Last week I was vacationing in Kansas and stopped by K-State to see first-hand the damage caused by the tornado that hit the campus on June 11. By now most of the upturned trees have been removed, the mangled cars repaired or replaced and the broken window replaced. However, there are still a few reminders of the storm, one of those being my old apartment building which is missing half a roof and being completely gutted due to the rain damage. Needless to say, I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.

When talking about Kansas tornadoes, most will remember the town of Greensburg, which was wiped out by an EF-5 in May 2007. The tornado destroyed 90 percent of the buildings and ten lives were lost. The citizens of this little town of almost 1,400 people haven’t let this tragedy destroy their community though. Instead, they have vowed to make the community better by becoming a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable city. This means they are going “green.” In December of 2007 the city council passed a resolution requiring all publicly funded city buildings over 4,000 square feet to be built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification level and reduce energy consumption by 42 percent over standard buildings. Not only will they have the fist LEED Platinum building in Kansas, but they are also the first community in the world to adopt a LEED Platinum resolution. What’s even greater about what they’re doing is that they are making sure they have a replicable model so that their successes can be shared with similar communities. This means recording their path, making replicable decisions, and being a laboratory for research on sustainable design and community development. Their first LEED platinum building will be a small business incubator that will house as many as 15 businesses and should be completed this summer.

Discovery’s new Planet Green channel began a 13-part series in June documenting the struggles of the community and citizens during the reconstruction effort. Tune in Sundays at 9 p.m. to watch this transformation.

To find your local Planet Green channel go to http://planetgreen.channelfinder.net/ .


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