Rebuilding After Disaster: Going Green from the Ground Up

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Contents

Overview

The city of Greensburg, Kansas, is rebuilding as a model green community with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A tornado destroyed or damaged 95% of the town's homes and businesses on May 4, 2007. Greensburg turned disaster into opportunity and created a vision to rebuild as a sustainable community. The town has gathered a diverse group of experts, including DOE and NREL, to make their vision of rebuilding green a reality. This “how-to” guide describes ways to turn a disaster into an opportunity to rebuild with greener energy technologies using the examples of disaster-struck Greensburg, Kansas, and New Orleans, Louisiana. It covers topics related to the individual steps of building green from the ground up from bringing the right people together, creating a vision, determine the area's baseline, evaluating options to establish renewable energy within the community, developing goals for the community, preparing a green recovery plan, financing the project, and creating early success in the rebuilding of the community. The resource also contributes example of how Greensburg specifically incorporated various specific renewable energy technologies, improved their economy, and enhanced their water conservation.

Community Information
Name Greensburg, Kansas
Type City
Population 2,421[2]
Community Energy Goals All new homes will use 30%-40% less energy than before the tornado

New city buildings will achieve LEED Platinum certification Other commercial and public buildings will be designed to LEED Platinum or Gold rating levels 100% renewable electricity 100% of the time Reduce GHG emissions by 36% relative to pre-tornado emissions

Baseline Estimated 2005 energy consumption: 15.6 million kWh; 92 mcf; 1.6 million gallons gasoline; 415,000 gallons diesel.
Results to Date 4 LEED Platinum commercial buildings

Of the first 190 homes built after the tornado, about half were analyzed for expected energy savings (heat and electricity), and averaged 40% less energy use than code Wind farm that produces 12.5 MW of energy, or enough to power every home, business, and municipal building in the town, as well as surrounding areas 2008 annualized total electricity use: 8 million kWh (with 800 out of the original 1,400 residents)

Highlights

Based on lessons learned from technical assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Greensburg, Kansas, this resource provides a simple, and easy to read how-to guide for disaster recovery and energy transformation in a green manner.  The guide is comprehensive in it's planning scope, and provides multiple, clear examples for community planners.  The table of contents can be used as a checklist of actions for disaster recovery.

Environmental Aspects

52% of the new homes permitted between May, 2007 and March, 2009 were voluntarily rated for energy efficiency. Nine townhome rental units are projected to use 41% less energy than a standard home.  33 homes that were renovated and measured will use on average 25% less energy than a standard home.  The city has also passed a resolution that all city-owned buildings will be LEED Platinum.  The city has entered an agreement to build a 12.5MW wind farm and to provide 100% renewable electricity to the city.

Related Tools

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References

  1.  "Rebuilding After Disaster: Going Green from the Ground Up"
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