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Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions:

Disaster Often Brings Opportunity

Recently I returned from Greensburg, Kan. Does the name sound familiar? It once was a nice farming town in west Kansas. On the first week of May 2007, a tornado with an EF-5 rating destroyed 99.9 percent of the town. About all that was left is a very tall grain elevator/storage facility that was not even scratched. No houses, no stores, no schools, no banks. Nothing left, except 100-year-old trees that are only about 15 feet tall now.

It was during my travels that I first saw the report on the Weather Channel. The very next day, as my wife and I were watching the evening news, I saw the pictures of the devastation. I said to her, “Isn’t that terrible, thank God that more were not killed.” A few minutes later I said to her, “When they begin to rebuild, I so very much hope they ask me for help.”

This, I thought, would be a great opportunity for Greensburg. Why not rebuild the town to be the most energy-efficient town in America? There’s no doubt in my mind that the national media would cover such a story. And I believe that people would go there to see it, creating a tourism opportunity. Just think about it – here they have a chance to be the most energy-efficient town in the country or possibly the world.

New house

After an EF-5 tornado hit Greensburg, Kan., the town looked like a bomb had exploded. Nearly 95 percent of the town’s buildings were gone. Because of the help of many people and organizations like the Kansas Touchstone Energy cooperatives, the town may soon be known as the most energy efficient and green towns in the world. The Kansas electric co-ops, along with GeoComfort Geothermal Systems, Central Fibers Cellulose Insulation and Doug Rye put on a Green Building Energy Show. To find out more about the town’s rebirth go to

I don’t know if that will ever happen but thanks to a man in Hutchinson, Kan., who is a faithful listener to my radio program, I was given the opportunity to speak to a large group in Greensburg about such a prospect. I am happy to report that the folks there listened. In fact, the former mayor’s new house is being constructed as a total Doug Rye house. I watched the workers as they installed the radiant barrier roof decking in the house. After the installation, they marveled at how cool the attic was, even in the middle of July! I then went to the backyard where the geothermal system was being installed for this brand new, total Doug Rye house that will be super energy efficient and totally comfortable.

As we used to say in Little League baseball, you can’t win them all unless you win the first one. Well, we won the first one and I have just completed working with an architect who is designing an apartment complex for Greensburg. Maybe we have won the second one, too. I hope we win them all.

Starting next month, “somebody” is going to start showing you how to build your Doug Rye house, step by step, starting from the footing.

P.S. The former mayor’s new house also has a safe room.

More Information:

Doug Rye, a licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show, works as a consultant for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas to promote energy efficiency to cooperative members statewide. To order Doug's video, call Doug at 1-888-Doug-Rye. More energy-efficiency tips can also be found at


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