The good citizens of Greensburg, Kansas are still hard at work to rebuild their town after the 2007 tornado. The latest project in their quest to build a sustainable town is the Meadowlark House, designed by Steven Learner Studio and the second home to be build as part of the Chain of Eco-Homes. Greensburg Greentown, the non-profit leading the project, broke ground on the 3-bedroom house at the beginning of June. Designed to be flexible for a growing family and built on a modest budget, the Meadowlark House makes use of a German-made prefab wood wall system designed for tornado resistance. The home is also ambitiously aiming for Passive House US and LEED for Homes certifications.
The Meadowlark House is a modestly sized, 3 bed, 2 bath home with an open floorplan living, kitchen and dining area. Oriented with its axis to the east and west, the home’s public living spaces are located on the south side and take advantage of the sunny exposure. Passive solar design for the home includes large roof overhangs and shading on the south and west to protect the interior from the hot summer sun. A strong focus has been placed on the use of natural lighting, a tight thermal envelope, energy efficient appliances and systems, sustainable materials, and use of solar energy and water efficient strategies on the inside and out. The plan is for the home to receive certifications for both LEED Platinum for Homes and Passive House US – an impressive feat to say the least. Also of note is the fact that they are aiming to build the modern home for less than $110 per sq ft.
As the home is located in the heart of Kansas and could likely face another devastating tornado and see severe storms, it was also designed for strength and durability. Making its debut for the first time ever in the US is the HIB Wall System, a German-made prefab wood block wall which is popular in Europe. According to HIB, extensive testing has shown their system is both hurricane and earthquake proof and therefore should also be able to withstand major tornadoes.
When the home is completed later this year it will serve as the second home in the town to be a ‘living laboratory’ to show off sustainable technologies. Visitors to Greensburg can also stay overnight in both the Meadowlark House and the Silo Eco Home to get a first hand experience of the eco homes. This program is run by the non-profit Greensburg Greentown, who has helped educate the community on sustainability. The organization is also providing support to other communities in the US that were devastated by the catastrophic storms of this spring.
Renderings Courtesy of Steven Learner Studio, Images by Joah Bussert