Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI October 2017

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Page 47 of 63

MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE— September 2017 48 I t is hard to see a silver lining in all the destruction that hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados and earth- quakes leave behind. But if there is one, it is in the creative and dedicated way some affected commu- nities are rebuilding to make their homes and neigh- borhoods more sustainable than they might ever have become otherwise. Take Greensburg, Kansas. On May 4,2007, 90% of this small farming community was literally sheared to the ground by an EF-5 tornado raging at 200 mph. Ten people died, and so could have the hopes and dreams of the 1500 survivors. Instead, the city council seized the opportunity to "cre- ate a strong community devoted to family, fostering busi- ness, and working together for future generations." They passed a resolution declaring that all city buildings would be 3 Inspiring Stories About Rebuilding After Extreme Weather Disasters By Diane MacEachern ON October 5, 2017 rebuilt to LEED-platinum standards, meaning that the build- ings would be highly energy efficient. Wind turbines were constructed to provide 100% of the city's electricity. When the city's streetlights went back up, they were outfitted with LEDs, the most energy-efficient light bulbs available. To conserve water, structures were rebuilt using low flow water fixtures. A system was engineered so that rainwater would be collected for use in irrigation and in some facilities to help flush toilets and meet other non-drinking water needs. Native plants became de rigeur in landscaping. The schools, hospital, courthouse, bank, arts center and "SunChips Business Incubator" all were rebuilt to become model sustainable buildings, an approach that is saving a combined total of $200,000 in energy costs per year. Rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005 has been challenging on a different scale. New Orleans is significantly larger than Greensburg, both in square miles and in population. While Greensburg was destroyed by wind, New Orleans's damage came primarily from the floods that happened when storm surge breached the city's levees in multiple places, leaving 80% of New Orleans submerged. More than 1,800 people are believed to have lost their lives. Damages have exceeded $81 billion. Though NOLA, as New Orleans is called, is still in the process of rebuilding, that process has been informed by a commitment to what city planners there call "sustainable and smart" urban development."Our objective is not merely to recover, but to recover smarter, greener, and better than we were before." The Louisiana legislature passed one of the most aggressive solar and wind tax credit programs in the country, which motivated the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to develop a solar installer training course to increase the number of certified solar installers in the state. The local utility, Entergy New Orleans, worked with Delgado Community College to develop courses to train home energy auditors. Actor and environmentalist Brad Pitt founded Make It Right to build homes that are affordable, solar-powered, and "cradle to cradle inspired," meaning they use eco-friend-

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