By Sister Beatrice Hernandez
On January 22, 2020, the Wheaton Franciscans flipped the switch on a 203-kilowatt solar energy system that will generate 25% of our energy use from the sun. More than 400 solar panels were installed on the roof of the Motherhouse buildings. This project was a collaboration with Catholic Energies, a program of the Catholic Climate Covenant aimed at helping Catholic organizations implement solar power and energy efficiency projects at no cost to the institution. The solar panels will basically run the chillers, which is the largest producer of energy cost related to the buildings.
In addition to the installation of the solar panels, the Wheaton Franciscans have completed a project to change all exterior light posts to LED lighting. In addition to increasing the brightness along the parking lots and roadways, the change to more energy efficient LED lighting is expected to use 50% less energy than the previous light posts, saving in utility costs as well.
The Wheaton Franciscans are committed social justice and to the care of creation and “recognize our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly for the sake of all of God’s creation.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, #69).
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