It was great to hear Greensburg mentioned in the President’s non-state-of-the-union State of the Union address. While the project got a lot of attention when Discovery Planet Green first mentioned that it was filming a documentary series on the green re-building of this small Kansas town, and again once the series premiered last summer, it has not received much play in the last few months. In a sense, President Obama’s mention is like the sound byte heard around the world for green building activists and proponents.
With mainstream media attention focused elsewhere, green building may have been put on the proverbial back burner recently. But by inviting Mayor Dixon to Washington and mentioning the success of Greensburg, President Obama shone a much-deserved spotlight on the subject. There are tons of great examples of sustainable building projects around the world that demonstrate a change in both the building industry itself, and in public perception. From Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation building new homes in hurricane-destroyed New Orleans, to Linx, shipping container housing for emergencies, to the AIA Committee on the Environment’s annual Top Ten List of the best green building projects in the US, it’s clear that people aren’t just talking about sustainable building – they’re doing it.
Unfortunately, green building costs more up front even if it yields more in the long run. If the uproar at the stimulus package’s proposed federal building retrofits (which would update older federal buildings to be more energy-efficient) is any indication, some people are still not willing to pay up front for a greener future.
Let’s just hope that we can all take a lesson from Greensburg and, as the President said, find hope in “unlikely” places and rise from the ashes “better, stronger, and greener” as this small mid-western town is proving is entirely possible.