April 6, 2017 by John Crapper
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore but Greensburg is and it’s green energy wonderland! I wish Alice was here to click her slippers and transport all of America to follow the Greensburg developmental yellow brick road.
Greensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kiowa County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 777….
In the evening of May 4, 2007, Greensburg was devastated by an EF5 tornado that traveled rapidly through the area, leveling at least 95 percent of the city and killing eleven people between the ages of 46 and 84…
After the tornado, the city council passed a resolution stating that all city buildings would be built to LEED – platinum standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.
For three years after the disaster the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) worked with the city to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the town’s rebuilding efforts.
Greensburg built a 12.5 megawatt wind facility which generates enough energy to power 4,000 homes. Financing was provided by the Rural Development Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The town achieved many firsts for the country and the state of Kansas, including:
- The first LEED Platinum municipal building in Kansas (SunChips® Business Incubator)
- The first LEED Platinum critical access hospital in the United States (Kiowa County Memorial Hospital)
- The first residential LEED Platinum building in Kansas (Prairie Pointe Townhomes).
Now this is the kind of disaster capitalism we need in our world!
But instead we have the kind described in Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” where with the assistance of the IMF and World Bank governments are “saved” from financial ruin but only if private business interests get access to valuable resources and institutions. This disaster capitalism we see being practiced on a broad based scale around the world can be summed up as follows:
- Wait for a major crisis (Hurricane Katrina, Greece) or invent one (Iraq)
- As a price for assistance sell off pieces of the state or extract lucrative contracts to private players while citizens are still reeling from the shock of the disaster.
- Finally, quickly make the “reforms” permanent.
And that is really SHOCKing and AWEful because now we have a President who is a proponent of this kind of capitalism.
Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for Greensburg fairytales!