Practicing Gratitude

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Prayer & Worship 0 Comments

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? This question often starts a conversation about how we will spend a much-loved American holiday. Friends and family members begin naming their favorite traditions. This year maybe you’d like to add a new practice. It may even become a new tradition. Name your favorite “giving thanks” words and images; the more the better (even if you name shopping and turkey). On my list is family gathering, a large round oak dining table, sharing food, good friends, community leisure, prayer, and a generous faithful God. Our community prayer closes at the monastery when the leader gathers the participants’ prayer into a …

Great Friend, Great Gratitude to You

Gloria Krysiak Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life 0 Comments

If you’ve heard the words nature, purpose, structure and function at a parish council, school board or curriculum committee meeting, chances are very good that Sister Barbara Dannhausen, OP (Order of Preachers), was involved in defining their organizational structures. All over Wisconsin and beyond, schools, churches, boards and religious communities have benefited greatly from the strategic planning skills of this Sinsinawa Dominican, but none perhaps as much or as long as Benedictine Women of Madison (BWM). During the early 1980s, Barbara worked with our sisters to assist in defining the focus of the retreat and conference center. Later in the 1990s, during a time of considerable discernment about …

Natural Lighting

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

“Why can’t I turn the lights off?  This is a question I’ve frequently heard when touring the new monastery building. Usually we’re just leaving the food service area and one of our energy conscious guests asks this question. The answer I offer is that I forgot to point out the large solar tube in the center of the room. Solar tubes direct outdoor light down a reflective tube to brighten interior spaces. Even on a cloudy day there is enough solar lighting to make people think the lights are on. One of the characteristics of the new building is the use of natural light. Every occupied space in the building has …

Holy Wisdom Monastery – LEED Education Plan

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

Public Education & Outreach – Sustainable Design and Construction Intent Provide public and co-worker education focusing on sustainable design and construction strategies, green buildings as a financially viable building solution, and the need for proactive management of green buildings. Requirements To take advantage of the educational value of the green building features of Holy Wisdom Monastery and to earn an Innovation in Design credit, a narrative detailing the activities and instructional elements of our education and outreach program is provided. Two of the three elements defined in the 9/24/01 CIR are included in the Education and Outreach program: 1. Guided tours will be conducted on …

Solar Heat Gain

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

It wasn’t until early in the 17th century, when Galileo stated that the earth revolves around the sun, that humans began to understand the power of the sun. Now, centuries later, not only do we realize we have the ability to harness the sun’s energy, we also know we must harness it in such a way that does not further damage the universe. As the design of the new monastery building evolved, a great deal of attention was paid to the sun and its effect on heating, cooling, lighting and shading the building. Solar heat gain refers to the increase in temperature in a space, object …

Saving Water and Caring for the Environment

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

Do you ever think about how much potable water, water that is fit for you to drink, is pumped into your home, how much you actually drink and how much your home environment drinks? Each year in the U.S. alone our buildings use 12.2% of all potable water. That’s 15 trillion gallons each year! As we designed the new monastery building, we looked at a smarter use of water both inside and out. We wanted to reduce our water usage through more efficient appliances, fixtures and fittings and water-wise landscaping. Irrigation (watering something artificially) is one of the main culprits of wasteful water practices. Potable water …

What is “LEED® Certification” All About?

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ (LEED certification) is a third-party certification program and 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 building’s performance.  LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance and awarding points in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Sustainable site development accounts for 14 points that may be earned in the areas of …

Water Resources

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

Holy Wisdom Monastery is part of the Lake Mendota Watershed.  Drainage from this location finds its way through the Madison Lakes, to the Rock River and eventually to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. For years the awareness of problems from both urban and rural runoff has been growing. I would like to explain the positive steps being taken with the new monastery building to address this critical environmental issue. Before any construction could begin, our storm water control plan had to be approved by both Dane County and the Town of Westport. Their requirements are the most stringent of anywhere in the state. …

Green Roofs

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

“A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. This does not refer to roofs which are merely colored green, as with green roof shingles. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. The term green roof may also be used to indicate roofs that utilize some form of ‘green’ technology, such as solar panels or a photovoltaic module. Green roofs are also referred to as eco-roofs, vegetated roofs, living roofs, and greenroofs.” –Wikipedia Green roofs are used to: …

Photovoltaic Electrical Generation – in English!

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

The new monastery building will be “green.” It will utilize “photovoltaic electrical generation.” So, in simple English, “How does that work?” There are usually two different types of basic “solar panels.” The panels you see for heating water or air are much easier to understand than the ones used for electrical generation. The former are panels through which either water or air is pumped, heated and used for some purpose. This application generally is used for heating domestic hot water or swimming pool water or air circulated within a structure. Generating electricity is a more complex use of solar power. The new building at Holy Wisdom …