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Benedictine Women of Madison, Inc.
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Benedictine Women of Madison, Inc.
With a mission statement that includes "care of the earth" as a core tenet, it's no surprise the Benedictine Women of Madison, Inc., an ecumenical spiritual community, is extremely concerned about reducing its carbon footprint.

And when the sisters recently rebuilt Holy Wisdom Monastery, their spiritual home, they knew renewable energy had to play an integral role. They incorporated a geothermal heating and cooling system into their new building and joined two MGE programs: Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) and Clean Power Partners (CPP). Through CPP they generate solar energy to support GPT.

The new monastery building includes rooftop photovoltaic (PV) cells that generate enough energy to deliver up to 20 kilowatts of electricity to GPT and meet 15% of the building's energy needs. More PV cells will be added as the budget permits.

"We want to leave the cleanest footprint possible for the time we're on the planet, and that's what renewable energy is all about," said Neal Smith, executive director of administration at the monastery.

Supporting renewable energy is also helping the sisters attempt to meet a larger goal—qualifying for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. LEED is a third-party certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. "Platinum" is its highest certification level.

Features that should help meet those standards include tall ceilings to improve room lighting and comfort without compromising HVAC efficiency, local and rapidly renewable products, smart window choices, daylighting in all occupied areas, high performance electric lighting and reduced water use. In addition, the project was able to divert 99.75% of the deconstruction waste from landfill (from their old 60,000 square-foot building).

"It's been very exciting to be part of something that will make a difference on so many levels," said Smith.
Thank you,
Benedictine Women of Madison, Inc.
, for supporting Green Power Tomorrow.

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