From Tragedy to Triumph: Rebuilding Greensburg, Kansas To Be a 100% Renewable Energy City; Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


On May 4, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas, was hit by a 1.7-mile wide tornado with 200 mph-plus wind speeds. This tornado destroyed or severely damaged 90% of Greensburg?s structures. We discuss the progress made in rebuilding Greensburg, with a focus on the built environment and on meeting Greensburg?s goal of 100% renewable energy, 100% of the time. We also discuss key disaster recovery efforts thatenabled Greensburg to reach this goal. Key strategies included a Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan, an ordinance resolving that city-owned buildings achieve LEED Platinum and 42% energy savings, a strong focus on rebuilding 'right' with an integrated design process, attracting significant and sustained technical experts and national media attention, and linking renewable and energyefficiency technologies to business development. After three years, more than half the homes that have been rebuilt are rated at an average of 40% energy savings. All significant commercial buildings, including the school, hospital, banks, courthouse, and retail buildings, have been rebuilt to LEED Gold and Platinum standards and exceed 40% savings, with many exceeding 50% savings. Greensburgrecently constructed a 12.5-MW community wind farm to provide all the remaining energy needed for its energy-efficient buildings and homes.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2010
EventACEEE Summer Study - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 15 Aug 201020 Aug 2010


ConferenceACEEE Summer Study
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-550-48300


  • energy efficient
  • Greensburg, Kansas
  • LEED
  • renewable energy (RE)
  • tornados
  • wind farm


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