Hutchinson A nonprofit group charged with leading tornado-damaged Greensburg's environmentally friendly initiatives has announced plans for a dozen "green" demonstration homes.
The homes, which will be built using environmentally friendly techniques, such as insulated concrete forms, solar energy and wind-generated power, will cost $200,000 to $300,000 to build. They will be rented out to visitors or residents on a first-come, first-served basis and will be the centerpiece of the town's ecotourism concept, allowing visitors to spend the night in a green home.
"There's no science museum in the country that allows you to come stay overnight, but this one will," said Greensburg GreenTown Executive Director Daniel Wallach.
Wallach said the project is unique.
"Nothing like this exists in the world that we are aware of. This has piqued a lot of interest all over the world - and that's what we were hoping for," he said.
The small western Kansas town, which was mostly destroyed by a tornado on May 4, 2007, is hoping to become an ecotourism destination with environmentally friendly buildings.
Greensburg City Council voted in December to build all city buildings to the top level of certification available from the U.S. Green Building Council. Greensburg is believed to be the first town in the U.S. to set that goal.
"Tourists would get guide books and would be able to go around to the different sites and learn about the process of building green," Wallach said.
He said many Greensburg businesses and public buildings using green building methods, including City Hall, the city's schools and the John Deere Dealership, will have education stations.
Money made from renting the demonstration homes will go toward maintenance and possibly other green initiatives, he said.
"There will be all of these different technologies on display," he said. "And the homes will be upgradable, so we'll constantly be demonstrating new technology."
The first home will be built on land donated by residents Ki and Kim Gamble and will serve as the offices, library and resource center for Greensburg GreenTown. Topeka-based Ogden Publications, which publishes Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines, will build it.