Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness

Geothermal System Helps Sisters Fulfill Spiritual, Moral Mandate
May 6, 2008, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Alternative Energy, Morality, Religion
Nicknamed the “Blue Nuns” for the blue habits they used to wear, the Catholic sisters of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have renovated their motherhouse and campus in Monroe, Michigan, into a showpiece of ecologically sustainable development. The project recently earned national awards from the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Institute of Architects. It features the largest privately funded geothermal field in the country and ranks as one of the nation’s largest residential sustainable renovations registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Earth Day 2008
April 18, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Alternative Energy, Morality, Religion

Earth Day 2008: Something We Can All Believe In


In coordination with the National Council of Churches, the Religious
Coalition on Creation Care and other inter-faith organizations, EDN
will integrate faith based Earth Day observances into nation wide
Earth Day 2008 actions. Our goal is to activate 500,000 parishioners
in areas of the country that have not responded to the climate crises
in support of climate legislation that invests in renewable energy and
the creation of green jobs and helps low-income Americans transition
to the new green economy.

On Earth Day 2007, EDN was successful in creating 12,000 sermons
and religious events through outreach to leaders from the Jewish,
Muslim, and Christian faiths. EDN created the 2007 Global Warming
in the Pulpit Pledge as a way to engage national faith leaders and
local clergy to deliver a sermon on climate change the weekend of
Earth Day, April 20-22, or to commit to preaching a sermon on
climate change one day during the year. Thousands of ministers,
rabbis, and other religious leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada
responded by pledging a deliver a sermon on climate change to their
congregations. We also created the first Earth Day Sunday at the
Washington National Cathedral, which was televised and which
included Reverend Richard Cizik, a leader in the Evangelical Church,
and other religious leaders.

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Vatican Going Green
December 12, 2007, 12:25 am
Filed under: Alternative Energy, Morality


By CAROL GLATZ and ALICIA AMBROSIO, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY. Expanding its mission from saving souls to saving the planet, the Vatican is going green.

A giant rooftop garden of solar panels will be built next year on top of the Paul VI audience hall, creating enough electricity to heat, cool and light the entire building year-round.

“Solar energy will provide all the energy (the building) needs,” said the mastermind behind the environmentally friendly project, Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican’s department of technical services.

And that is only the beginning. Cuscianna told Catholic News Service May 24 that he had in mind other sites throughout Vatican City where solar panels could be installed, but that it was too early in the game to name names.

Even though Vatican City State is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding international environmental pact to cut greenhouse gases, its inaugural solar project marks a major move in trying to reduce its own so-called carbon footprint, that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released through burning fossil fuels.

The carbon dioxide-slashing solar panels will be installed sometime in 2008 after prototypes, environmental impact reports and other studies have been completed, Cuscianna said.

In a May 23 article in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cuscianna wrote that safeguarding the environment was “one of the most important challenges of our century.”

The Italian engineer said appeals by Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II to respect nature inspired him to help power the Vatican’s energy needs with renewable resources.

He recalled how, in his 2007 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict warned of “the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies” that was leading to “an unprecedented race” for the earth’s resources.

Cuscianna also found inspiration from Pope John Paul’s 1990 peace message, dedicated in its entirety to the need to respect God’s creation.

“We cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past,” the pope wrote, calling for “a new ecological awareness” that leads to “concrete programs and initiatives.”

Cuscianna took the initiative and helped draw up and deliver to the Vatican governor’s office a feasibility study of going solar.

He said the Paul VI hall was chosen first for a number of reasons: Cooling and heating the large audience hall makes it one of the top energy guzzlers in the Vatican, and its roof was in need of repair.

When the project is finished, more than 1,000 solar panels will cover the football field-sized roof.

While not revealing how much the solar project will cost, Cuscianna said “it will pay for itself in a few years” from the savings on energy bills.

Whatever solar power the hall is not using will be funneled into the Vatican’s energy grid and benefit other energy needs, he said.

The solar rooftop garden is not the first environmental project the Vatican has undertaken. In 1999, as part of preparations for the jubilee year, the entire lighting system of St. Peter’s Basilica was upgraded to be low-impact. Strategically placed energy-saving light bulbs were installed inside and out, cutting the basilica’s energy consumption by an estimated 40 percent.

In 2000, the Vatican unveiled its own electric motor vehicle recharging station, where electric wheelchairs, scooters and cars could “tank up.”

Unfortunately, the idea of replacing polluting, gas-powered cars with a network of electric vehicles within the Vatican stalled. U.S. Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, the former archbishop of car-capital Detroit, had pushed for the cleaner switch while he was head of the commission that governs Vatican City State.

Pope John Paul, however, regularly used an electric car at Castel Gandolfo toward the end of his pontificate when he was no longer able to move easily around the grounds.

Cuscianna said the Vatican has a commission that studies environmental issues and potential eco-friendly practices. Programs facilitating recycling, composting and waste reduction have not yet been established.

An expansion of the Vatican’s use of renewable energy resources would not only reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Cuscianna said, “it could be a condition that makes Vatican City more autonomous” and less dependent on Italy’s power grid.

With Italian news headlines warning of yet another sweltering summer and potential power brownouts and blackouts, greater energy autonomy for the Vatican through the sun sounds like a cool idea.

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
August 23, 2007, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Alternative Energy

by U.S. Green Building Council

What is LEED®?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

LEED provides a roadmap for measuring and documenting success for every building type and phase of a building lifecycle. Specific LEED programs include:

New Commercial Construction and Major Renovation projects
Existing Building Operations and Maintenance
Commercial Interiors projects
Core and Shell Development projects
Neighborhood Development
Guidelines for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects
LEED for Schools
LEED for Retail

USGBC is also developing LEED for Healthcare, and LEED for Labs.

We also have the LEED Resources page which has informative PowerPoint presentations, brochures, and case studies, as well as LEED News and LEED-Online sample credit templates.

How is LEED Developed?
The LEED Rating System was created to transform the built environment to sustainability by providing the building industry with consistent, credible standards for what constitutes a green building. The rating system is developed and continuously refined via an open, consensus-based process that has made LEED the green building standard of choice for Federal agencies and state and local governments nationwide. Click here for more information on the LEED Development Process.

What is LEED Certification?
The first step to LEED certification is to Register your project. A project is a viable candidate for LEED certification if it can meet all prerequisites and achieve the minimum number of points to earn the Certified level of LEED project certification. To earn certification, a building project must meet certain prerequisites and performance benchmarks (“credits”) within each category. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve. This comprehensive approach is the reason LEED-certified buildings have reduced operating costs, healthier and more productive occupants, and conserve our natural resources.

Note for Product Manufacturers and Service Providers:
Although USGBC does not certify, promote, or endorse products and services of individual companies, products and services do play a role and can help projects with credit achievement. (Note that products and services do not earn projects points.) Learn more here about how you and your company can help advance green building, while also achieving your own environmental and economic goals.

Who Can Use LEED?
Everyone: Architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders, government officials…

The LEED program also includes a full suite of training workshops and a Professional Accreditation program to develop and encourage green building expertise across the entire building industry.

Visit the LEED Help section of our website.

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