Rebuilding Green at  the Leed Platinum Education Facility In Greensburg, KS

In the wake of a devastating F5 tornado one community has worked together so that they may successfully emerge from a devastating natural disaster. Consequently, the residents of Greensburg, Kansas were offered a rare opportunity; building their city anew and in a fashion they wanted. As a result, Greensburg has became the poster child of the ‘Green Movement’ and pioneered the application of many alternatives for more sustainable building methods and materials.

USD 422 & Green Umbrella Engineered Polished Concrete

Before the school was designed, the community had already decided that the new KIOWA school facility would be built to meet LEED Platinum specifications. The building features a wind turbine, water reconciliation system, Green Umbrella Engineered Polished concrete floors, and has safe rooms capable of withstanding an F5 tornado. For this small town community school they saw the LEED Platinum construction techniques as an opportunity to save money on energy and maintenance costs.

Grind. Hone. Polish. Green Umbrella Polished Concrete Floors.A GHP Cut: Grind. Hone. Polish.

To process a polished concrete floor one must employ a series of graduated diamond grit abrasives by using a process known as Grinding, Honing and Polishing (GHP). A GHP process is essentially scratching a floor with smaller and smaller scratches, removing previous cuts made and refining the clarity of the floor. The process was done primarily wet ensures the best possible ambient air quality while large amounts of stock are removed from the floor as illustrated in the top right image.

Step 1 – Grind

The first step is to grind the floor progressively making it flatter. This step is typically done using 50 & 100 grit metal bond diamond abrasives and 50 grit resin bond diamond abrasives. At this time a densifier would be added to the floor to maximize its abrasion resistance over time.

Step 2 – Hone

Next, in the honing step, the floor is gradually brought closer to a stage in which polishing can be done. A honing progression of 100, 200, and 400 grit resin bond diamond abrasives is used.

Step 3 – Polish

The final step is usually done dry and is the only step that uses vacuums to contain the small amount of dust produced.

In this step an 800 resin bond diamond abrasive is usually used, however, floors may be polished up to a 3000 resin bond diamond abrasive for desired gloss. An impregnated micro filming product may be applied for added protection as was done on the Kiowa School.

Versatile. Sustainable. Economical

Green Umbrella Polished Concrete FloorsVersatile

The Versatility of polished concrete was on full display throughout the campus. Polished concrete was installed in rest rooms, science labs, hallways, shared spaces, class rooms and offices, cafeteria and gymnasium common areas. As the installation progressed both architect and owner saw the benefits of using polished concrete and changed many floor finishes to polished concrete increasing the overall square footage of the project.


The Sustainability was important for an overall project aiming for LEED Platinum Certification. Eliminating VCT and the need for glue underneath and wax over the top was a key to the selection of polished concrete.


Green Umbrella polished Concrete FloorsEconomical

The Economical savings for the district are evident. For any school district finding experienced maintenance personnel at a cost effective rate may be difficult. Surfaces that require minimal maintenance can help save money and ease budgetary constraints. Processed polished concrete floors were used throughout the USD 422 KIOWA school building.