What is “LEED® Certification” All About?

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

“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 Leave a Comment

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 …

Geothermal Heating and Cooling – in English!

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building Leave a Comment

The new monastery building will be “green.” It will utilize “geothermal heating & cooling.” So, in simple English, “How does that work?” By definition, geothermal is “heat from the earth” and in the case of the new monastery building it is also “cooling from the earth.” Three hundred feet below the site of the new building there is a constant temperature year round of about 51 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is warmer than the colder winter day air temperature and colder than the summer day air temperature. Simply stated, logic says we should be able to use the earth’s heat in the winter and cooling in …

"Green" or "Sustainable"?

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building Leave a Comment

“Green” is a hot topic today! And “green” is what the new monastery building will be. But, what is “green”? Who decides if something is “green”? So what if it’s “green”? These and other questions will be the topic of a series of articles in the electronic Benedictine Bridge throughout 2009. The color green evokes diverse images. Green is the color of plants, grass, leaves and other healthy living things. Likewise green is the color for “Ordinary Time” in the liturgical year. We’ve also heard of people green with envy. And some of us swore off green the day we left the army. Oh, yes, there …

Community of Benedict interview with Sister Joanne Kollasch, OSB

Holy Wisdom Monastery Community of Benedict Leave a Comment

The Community of Benedict at Holy Wisdom Monastery brings together women and men from different faith traditions. Formed in response to people asking Sisters Mary David Walgenbach and Joanne Kollasch how they might belong to a community, the Community of Benedict began in 1981 as the first ecumenical community at the monastery. Others followed, including a change for the Sisters’ community itself in 2006. How did the Community of Benedict start? Sister Joanne: In 1966, the Sisters opened Saint Benedict Center, a retreat and conference facilityfor the promotion of Christian unity. This initiative was prompted by the ecumenical spirit of Vatican Council II in the …