Greensberg, Kansas, was wiped out by a tornado in May 2007. Eleven people were killed and the town of 900 was flattened. It’s since been rebuilt as a model of green technology. A report in the New York Times by Keith Schneider tells of the extraordinary efforts that have transformed the town into a gleaming example of new, energy saving and creating technology.
The John Deere dealership has the highest green ratings available. “We had the chance to start over,” said Mike Estes, who owns the dealership. “What do you do when you start with a clean slate? You want to build it better. Right?” Right, indeed — not only for the Deere dealership but for the whole town. There’s an arts center (above) powered by windmills and a bank of solar photovoltaic panels — heated and cooled by a geothermal system. The courthouse is being renovated to the highest standards and a new hospital being built on the highway outside of town intends to be the first platinum rated LEED critical-access facility in the nation. The hospital even captures rainwater to use to flush the toilets.
Will Greensberg survive after the rush of building is complete? The town has also seen the construction of a 10,000 square foot business incubator on Main Street. Funding was provided by Frito-Lay, the federal Department of Agriculture and the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.