GREENSBURG, Kan. - The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with the city council of Greensburg, Kan., and the Kansas Building Industry Association (KBIA), have announced the launch of the Greensburg GreenHome Residential Green Building Program.

Greensburg GreenHome is a voluntary program with KBIA and supported by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to train workers to build Greensburg homes according to the recently released National Green Building Standard. “We’re thrilled that because of these collaborative efforts and the citizens’ enthusiasm for a green future, Greensburg is emerging as a true leader in sustainable community development,” said Chris Wilson, executive director of KBIA.

Assistance from NREL to adopt the National Green Building Standard has helped Greensburg city officials with their pledge to rebuild green following a devastating tornado that struck the city in 2007. “By providing technical assistance and brokering this partnership with KBIA, the U.S. Department of Energy and NREL have helped to ensure that Greensburg will continue on a green and sustainable path,” said Steve Hewitt, city administrator.

Highlights of the memorandum of understanding between Greensburg and KBIA include:

• Greensburg and KBIA will work together to ensure the use of the 2008 National Green Building Standard, and the NAHB building verification and certification process (the NAHB National Green Building Program, or NAHBGreen) for residential construction projects in Greensburg.

• KBIA will offer training for the Certified Green Professional Designation from NAHB. This is based on successful completion of a two-day green building course for professionals and a one-day business management course.

• KBIA will waive the state and local association fees for any home built in Greensburg that achieves a NAHBGreen certification.

“This agreement shows the city, and Greensburg residents, that the National Association of Home Builders, through KBIA, is committed to making a long-term investment in Greensburg’s future,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a builder and developer in Tulsa, Okla.

With DOE support, NREL has been working with Greensburg to rebuild since the May 2007 tornado. NREL quickly brought in a team of experts to provide the city with advocacy and technical expertise in buildings, wind energy, solar energy, biomass utilization, and alternative transportation. NREL’s efforts in Greensburg will be used as a model for other communities seeking to rebuild. Examples of building successes in Greensburg to date include:

• Prairie Point, a 32-unit townhome complex for low-income renters, which has been awarded the first residential LEED Platinum rating in Kansas. Prairie Point uses approximately 50 percent less energy than code and the complex was designed and built by a local builder, with technical assistance from DOE/NREL.

• Low-cost housing from Mennonite Housing, and at least seven other public and commercial buildings, received technical assistance from DOE/NREL. Several of these are striving for LEED Platinum or Gold ratings: BTI Equipment John Deere Dealership, SunChip Business Incubator, City Hall, Greensburg K-12 School, Kiowa County Memorial Hospital, and Kiowa County Courthouse.

The new Greensburg Community Master Plan contains strong energy goals for the community based largely on NREL’s studies and recommendations.

“NREL is honored to be working shoulder to shoulder with citizens of Greensburg as they rebuild their city with high energy efficiency standards and sustainable building designs,” said Senior Project Leader Lynn Billman. “Greensburg is showing other small communities across America that they can save energy and be green as well.”

Publication date:06/08/2009