Three years ago the small town of Greensburg, Kansas was wiped from the map by a deadly tornado, today it is being reborn thanks in part to the building of a new green school. This school is a symbol of the rebirth of a once dying community.
The $50 million, state-of-the-art, LEED Platinum school, was designed by BNIM. The school boasts two new gyms, a new food court-style cafeteria area, and an outdoor classroom. Motion sensors ensure that the students use only the light they need. Exterior walls are windows, reducing the amount of light needed during the day. Geothermal systems provide the heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. A wind turbine near the football field provides energy. Five cisterns around the school catch and store rainwater for the landscaping.
The school expects to save 40 percent or more in utility costs. Lowered utility bill frees up money for educational improvements. The school has also incorporated sustainability into its curriculum. In science, students learn about renewable sources of energy like geothermal.
The town’s sustainable school is making a big difference. Greensburg GreenTown, offers tours and demonstrates sustainable living with the school as the main attraction. The school is not the only green building town, the courthouse was remodeled to be energy-efficient. In the future Greensburg plans to build more sustainable buildings including a library/museum and a movie theater. Greensburg is remaking itself as a model green town.
The City Administrator began talking about building a better and more sustainable town in the days after the tornado. Town leaders knew that building green was a way to set their community apart. Now, thanks to one green school a small town is basking in national attention.
Greensburg has discovered that being a model green community has lucrative benefits.
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