LEED Platinum is the highest rating a building can achieve under the USGBC's LEED Green Building Rating System. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Greensburg, devastated by a massive tornado on May 4, 2007, has focused its recovery on rebuilding as a model green community. On December 17, 2007, the City Council adopted a resolution that all city buildings greater than 4,000 square feet will be certified LEED Platinum and be required to reduce energy use by 42 percent over current building code requirements.
"The city of Greensburg has taken the extraordinary step of committing to rebuild their community to a new vision, not settling for simply recreating what had gone before," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "By committing to a recovery plan based on green building, the community's leadership has set a path that will result in a healthier, more livable city for its citizens, turning a crisis into an opportunity that is an example for us all." Following the Council's historic vote, City Administrator Steve Hewitt said, "I am so excited about being the first city in the U.S. to adopt this system for a town. I am ecstatic about this commitment and what it is telling the world about our town's character and where we are headed."
Mayor John Janssen said, "This is just another important step in our recovery and our intentions to come back as one of the greenest towns in America."
BNIM Architects of Kansas City, Missouri, worked closely with the city to draft the resolution and to educate the community on the benefits of LEED Platinum certification. The firm is also developing a comprehensive master plan to rebuild Greensburg based around the principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability. "BNIM is pleased to help Greensburg achieve its goal of rebuilding in a sustainable, energy efficient manner that will result in significant operational savings for years to come," said Stephen Hardy, associate of BNIM Architects and project leader for the Greensburg comprehensive master plan. "This is a landmark resolution for Greensburg
and makes the city a model for communities across the nation.”
Local, state and national organizations and agencies have been instrumental in promoting green building best practices for Greensburg and helping the community plan for future generations. The green rebuilding effort has support from Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and its subcontractors are providing technical assistance on all aspects of energy use and building design in Greensburg.
The town and its citizens have undertaken many innovative programs and projects that have already positioned this rural community as an innovator with an ambitious vision for the future. As part of the town's "Green Initiative," 10 commercial and public buildings in Greensburg have already committed to being LEED certified. This number is especially impressive given the fact that only six buildings currently have received LEED certification in the whole state of Kansas and that this small rural community had a population of only about 1400 before the tornado.