Green Town USA: The Handbook for America's Sustainable Future
Thomas J. Fox, Daniel Wallach
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"There was never a town with a truer name, though it didn't really discover it till tragedy created an opportunity that residents seized with head and heart!"
— Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey:The Education of an Unlikely Activist
Hope for a greener America . . . from the extraordinary community that made it a reality.
Green Town U.S.A. recounts Greensburg’s inspiring story of resilience, community, and sustainability which began on the evening of May 4, 2007, when disaster struck the quiet Kansas city. A tornado topping all the scales touched down, and in a matter of minutes, Greensburg, which stood for more than 120 years, was destroyed.
Greensburg committed to reconstructing itself from the ground up while embracing green technology and building methods, along with solar and wind energy. The new Greensburg stands testament to the strength and viability of sustainable community redevelopment and energy-efficient living.
Green Town U.S.A. is a story of hope and opportunity—even in the face of obstacles and difficulties—and provides a real-world proving ground for sustainable solutions. Green Town U.S.A. takes you through the entire reconstruction process, from Long-Term Community Recovery planning for Greensburg, to the latest advancements in green materials and technology, to the leadership and teambuilding necessary to realize an achievement of this magnitude.
Every town can be a “green town.” Any community faced with rebuilding after a natural disaster, planning new municipal buildings or schools, upgrading retail or industrial centers, or building homes can gain valuable insight from the example of Greensburg, Kansas.
Green Town U.S.A. is an invaluable handbook for civic leaders, concerned citizens, business owners, and anyone who is a stakeholder in America’s sustainable future.
which will serve as the local cinema, Kiowa County Schools’ auditorium, a community meeting space, and a local venue for performing arts. Best Western Best Western Night Watchman Inn owner Ron Wright had completely remodeled his motel—replacing all the furniture, bathroom fixtures, drapes, and carpets, and repainting every room—just before the tornado hit. The motel’s shelter saved many lives that day, but the rest of the building was nearly totaled. Tested like Job, Wright committed
there. The government’s not going to do it, because it’s not what they specialize in … We were going to have to do it ourselves. But how? Fortunately, Brown had an excellent role model: his father. Fifty years earlier, a coffee shop in Brown’s tiny hometown of Mullinville closed when its elderly owner died. Brown’s father and other residents were bereft. Brown still remembers the coffee shop well: It was an old cinderblock green building. It served as a hub of the community, this little
Greensburg’s new environmental vision, the Kyles bought all used equipment for their business, use paper travel mugs rather than foam, and use washable ceramic bowls and metal utensils for those eating in. Susan and Scott Reinecke own Studio 54 Glass Art, a dream project born of the destruction of their previous businesses by the tornado. Scott specializes in stained glass and Susan, in fused glass. Both make use of recycled glass in their art—some of it debris from the tornado—and use 100
reviews; assistance with low-interest loans, state incentives, and tax credits; and—for manufacturers—the possibility of a ten-year tax abatement. The business park has everything … except its first tenants. There have been interested parties, however, and with all the city is offering, a location right on Highway 54, as well as the cachet that comes with being in the “greenest” small town in America, there is reason to hope businesses will start moving in. Harnessing the Wind For years,
other disaster: once bitten, twice shy. But its efforts to be both sustainable and resilient should serve as a model for all communities. Which is not to say that all construction should mirror Greensburg’s: ICF walls are no help in a flood zone, for example. The key is to build sustainably but resiliently, tailored to both local threats and local resources. Plan. Evaluate. Plan Again. Perhaps the most salient lesson of Greensburg’s experience is not to wait until a community has been