Green Group Pushes for Sustainable Rebuilding of Joplin, Mo.

by Roberta Seldon on April 16, 2012

GreenTown Joplin, a new venture whose purpose is to help the Joplin, Mo. area recover from the EF-5 tornado that struck the city on May 22, 2011, is pushing for the use of sustainable techniques and renewable energy to rebuild the city, The Associated Press reports.

The project was launched by Greensburg GreenTown, a nonprofit organization working in Greensburg, Kan. since May 2007 to help the town realize its dream of rebuilding as a model green community after an EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.

Catherine Hart, co-founder and program director of Greensburg GreenTown and GreenTown Joplin, told AP that Greensburg decided to rebuild using sustainable techniques a week after a tornado wiped out most of the town on May 4, 2007.

According to AP, the town held hundreds of public meetings to discuss how to restore the town in a more sustainable way. Today, about 800 people have moved back into the town, and most of its major buildings are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Last summer, Greensburg reached out to Joplin and established a Joplin branch of the GreenTown movement as a way of “paying it forward” for the help Greensburg received in rebuilding, Hart told AP. “We got a lot of resources and attention because we were the first disaster after Katrina, and the government was anxious to get it right” after they received complaints about slow disaster response and rescue for Katrina survivors, she said.

Wally Crane, of Crane Home Energy Consulting, told AP that GreenTown Joplin recently held a sustainable building workshop for local contractors. A similar session for residents who want to know more about energy-efficient building will be held May 12 at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

The session will show residents how easy it is to incorporate energy- and water-saving features in their properties, Crane told AP.

“Once people realize it doesn’t have to be difficult, they tell others,” and then the whole community can participate, Crane said.

To learn more about GreenTown Joplin, visit the group’s website or their Facebook page.

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