Connecticut Sisters of Mercy Win Top Prize in Energy Efficiency
A sustainable renovation and restoration project in Madison, Connecticut, brought the Sisters of Mercy the top prize in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation category in the 2012 Cool Congregations Challenge.
The Sisters of Mercy recognized that their Mercy Center retreat facilities could no longer meet the Connecticut State Building Code. It could have meant the end of 40 years of retreat ministry, but the religious community chose to set a good example of sustainability to renovate and restore its aging buildings, as well as care for its 33-acre property on Long Island Sound.
Like many coastal communities, Southern Connecticut has been dramatically affected by severe weather events, and the Sisters of Mercy view climate change as a major social justice concern. So they used their renovation as an opportunity to inspire others to reduce carbon consumption. They emphasized the reuse and recycling of building materials and required all contractors to follow rigorous guidelines for deconstruction, recycling, and integrated waste management.
Read more about their energy efficiency project by visiting Interfaith Power & Light which annually sponsors the Cool Congregations Challenge.
In their Cool Congregations Challenge application, the Sisters of Mercy wrote: “Together, we believe that these substantial changes to Mercy Center express our religious commitment to environmental sustainability. They also help us show our guests ways they might incorporate sustainability in their own lives.”
In a year marked by increasing climate disruption, dozens of faith communities from across the nation have received recognition in the 2012 Cool Congregations Challenge sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization mobilizing a religious response to global warming. The annual challenge offers religious congregations an opportunity to show leadership in saving energy.
Each of the four winning congregations will receive a $1,000 prize and a framed certificate. This year Interfaith Power & Light also named 5 runners-up and 30 honorable mentions.
While visiting the Cool Congregations website, be sure to check out the resources including a new congregational and household carbon footprint calculator.