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Wisconsin monastery may be greenest building in the US

Yesterday, the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wisconsin, held its first mass in a new 30,000 square-foot building that may be the greenest in the country. The Benedictine Women of Madison‘s new home features “Geothermal heating and cooling; solar panels; windows that open and natural lighting in all occupied spaces; rain gardens; roof gardens; tankless water heaters; and a slew of reused furniture including a renovated organ…” The sisters believe their new building has a “high probability” of receiving 63 of 69 LEED points, which would beat out the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center (also in Wisconsin), the current top dog of the US green building scene.

Of course, competition isn’t the main motivation behind the new building… nor is PR or jumping on the green bandwagon. The sisters have a long history of environmentalism, and note that “Reverence for creation is a deeply-held Benedictine value.” Since 1996, the order has been involved in prairie restoration efforts around the Madison area, and other conservation and restoration efforts.

Want to see the 3-year process of building the new monastery? The order documented it in a Flickr photo set

via Wisconsin State Journal