On May 4, 2007, a massive EF5 tornado barreled into the small Kansas town of Greensburg, essentially wiping it from the map. As I watched the news coverage the next day, I was amazed to see that nearly everything was gone. The town leaders and residents decided to take this as an opportunity to rebuild and turn Greensburg into GreenTown.
The initiative was so groundbreaking that it drew the attention of Leonardo DiCaprio and the Discovery Channel networks. In June 2008, "GREENSBURG," a series produced by DiCaprio, began airing on Planet Green. The challenges that the town members had to overcome with the rebuilding process were amazing, but they are beginning to emerge on the other side of this disaster.
The town’s first LEED certified building went for it all and achieved LEED-NC Platinum certification, the ultimate in green building recognition. The 5.4.7 Arts Center was named for that tragic date in May 2007 when Greensburg’s history would be re-written. Not only was this the first LEED certified building in Greensburg, it was the first building in Kansas to receive LEED Platinum certification.
The 5.4.7 Arts Center “earned the LEED Platinum certification through its use of wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, geothermal climate control, recycled building materials and a host of other ecologically minded features.” Source: 5.4.7 Arts Center
Although the center was the first LEED certified building, it will not be the last. The town has a resolution in place that will require all city owned building to aim for LEED Platinum certification.
Photo by Saiuri