In a bid to answer Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical to protect the environment, Archbishop Blasé Cupich says the church will perform energy efficiency benchmarking on all 2,700 buildings in the Archdiocese of Chicago, according to an article in the National Catholic Reporter. All of the buildings in the archdiocese will be evaluated for their water use, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager.
The archdiocese has already done a significant amount of work in making its buildings energy efficient. St. Joseph College Seminary, for example, has high-efficiency lighting control and heating systems and is LEED Gold certified. The field operations center for Resurrection Cemetery has been heated with a solar system since 1978. The rooftop solar system deployed at Old St. Mary’s School generates an average 40 percent of the building’s energy needs during the summer months.
The archdiocese’s facilities office also works with parishes and schools on heating, boiler and other projects that are focused on making the buildings more energy efficient. As a result, Chicago parishes have received more than $1 million in rebates from Peoples Gas since 2011.
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