TORNADOES ALWAYS HAVE STRUCK DREAD into the hearts of Midwesterners. Before sophisticated warning systems were put into use, people went to their basements when severe weather threatened and listened for the sound of a freight train, which reportedly is similar to the noise a tornado makes as it rumbles across the landscape.

Luckily, the residents of Greensburg, Kan., received a tornado warning from the Silver Spring, Md.-based National Weather Service 39 minutes before the EF-5 twister struck in May 2007. The warnings saved lives, but 95 percent of the town was destroyed, including every business on Main Street.

Local resident Daniel Wallach saw tremendous opportunity for the rebuilding of this community of 1,500 people. Wallach founded Greensburg GreenTown, a nonprofit organization that provides local residents the resources, information and support they need to rebuild Greensburg as a model green community.

As part of its work, Greensburg Green- Town is coordinating the construction of 12 green demonstration homes that will be equipped with monitoring equipment, so observers can view the building science of green design and construction in real-world conditions. The homes will serve as bed and breakfasts and be built using different green technologies. eco-structure is partnering with Dan Chiras, author of Superbia: 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods for the design and construction of one bed and breakfast. Chiras is co-director of the Sustainable Futures Society, Denver, which promotes understanding and adoption of the principles, policies and practices of sustainable development.

Eco-structure is seeking donations for the building, which will be completed in 2008. The bed and breakfast and its donors will be profiled in an issue of the magazine.

To donate, contact Christina Koch, eco-structure’s editor in chief, at or (773) 824-2514.