Orion Magazine has been publishing a series of blogs entitled “Reimagining Infrastructure.” The most recent blog is on the town of Greensburg, Kansas which was devastated by an EF5 tornado in May 2007. After the tornado the town decided not only to rebuild but to incorporate sustainable build and design into the town’s new infrastructure.
Greensburg farms the wind for its electricity, selling its surplus back to the grid. Most municipal buildings, including the city hall, school, and hospital, are LEED-certified, and the streets are now lit by LEDs. The town’s business community has bought in as well—the Best Western has its own wind turbine, the LEED-Platinum-certified John Deere dealership stores its waste oil to heat itself in winter, and Centera Bank, also LEED-certified, absorbs stormwater with its own bioswale. People come from all over the world to tour these facilities.
Greensburg is now a model of sustainability for other towns across the country. Make sure to check out the rest of the “Reimagining Infrastructure” series here.