Ramping Up to GreenTown’s Eco-Homes Contest

first_imgAs Greensburg, Kansas, continues its recovery from the tornado that destroyed it two years ago, local nonprofit GreenTown forges ahead with plans for its showcase of green homesEven though it has faced two crushing adversaries – the vicious tornado that flattened it two years ago, and the lousy economy – Greensburg, Kansas, continues to rebuild. It also continues to attract attention, not only because of the scale of the task but because the town has committed to go green in commercial reconstruction that uses public money and in much of its residential rebuilding.One of the more remarkable examples in the residential area is a project led by Mennonite Housing Rehabilitation Services that yielded 20 homes offering 940 to 1,050 sq. ft., two-car garages, full basements (each with a safe room), efficient appliances, and well insulated walls and attics. The homes were offered to low-income buyers only, with adjusted gross-income limits, which began at $27,900, scaled according to the size of the prospective owner’s family.The green labThe town also is the setting for the GreenTown Chain of Eco-Homes, a 12-home project intended as a showcase for a variety of green construction strategies at different price levels. Last month, the first of the dozen homes planned for the project, the concrete Eco-Home Silo, opened to the public.The second home in the Eco-Homes lineup will be the University of Colorado’s entry in the 2005 Solar Decathlon, which took first place in the competition.For three succeeding Eco-Homes projects, GreenTown, in collaboration with open-source design firm FreeGreen, has been soliciting designs for their Chain of Eco-Homes Competition. Ideally, the contest summary says, the winning entries will be “seemingly ordinary homes that act in extraordinarily green ways.” All three winning designs will receive the right to be constructed in Greensburg as part of the Eco-Homes “Living Laboratory” project.GreenTown and FreeGreen suggest that contest entries, which must be submitted electronically by August 15, include block wall construction for a single-family house that includes 2 to 3 bedrooms and 1 to 2 bathrooms. The lot size is 75 x 140 ft.Another important consideration: construction costs must not exceed $154,000 for each home.The top prize includes $10,000; runners up will receive $1,000 each. All three winners will be represented on the FreeGreen website.last_img

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