The rebuilding of tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan., is well under way, and its community's ambitious commitment to reinventing itself as a model green town for the future continues to evolve and grow. Now the town is planning a Chain of Eco-Homes project that will result in up to 12 sustainably designed houses built to serve as living laboratories for residents and visitors. But who will design those homes?

Greensburg GreenTown, the organization working with Greensburg city officials and business leaders to coordinate efforts and educate the community, is partnering with FreeGreen, a Web-based source of free sustainable home plans, to hold a competition for the design of three of the "Eco-Homes." The Chain of Eco-Homes competition is now accepting entries of two- to three-bedroom single-family house designs that strike a balance between innovation and practicality, cost less than $110 per square foot to build, and serve as an example of affordability, disaster resistance, and green building. Built designs will eventually be used as lodging for eco-tourists visiting Greensburg and as living laboratories.

For disaster resistance, the competition eschews conventional 2x4 wall construction. Entries must be based on one of three green wall systems: insulated concrete forms from Amvic Building System, environmental masonry units from Virginia Lime Works, or prefab wood blocks from HIB-System AG.

One winner per wall system will be chosen, and the best designs from each wall system category will compete for first prize. The first-prize winner will receive $10,000, and the two runners-up will receive $1,000. FreeGreen will work with winners to complete construction documents of their designs, which will then be made available as full house plans on The first-prize-winning design and runners-up will be granted the right to be built as part of Greensburg's Chain of Eco-Homes.

The Chain of Eco-Homes competition is open to architects, designers, intern architects, and students, as well as nonprofessionals—individuals or teams—worldwide. Those interested in entering must register by July 15, 2009; all entry submissions are due by Aug. 15, 2009. Visit the competition Web site for registration details and design specifications.

Winners will be announced Sept. 15, 2009.

Stephani L. Miller is Associate Web Editor for residential architect magazine.