Tucson, Ariz. – The Benedictine Sanctuary is adorned with religious statuary and glows in the desert sun. A domed tower rises high above the sanctuary. It’s the very definition of a stately, Old World edifice.
A few feet away, the rows of solar panels create a fascinating contrast between old and new.
Two long rows of panels parallel the monastery’s parking lot, providing power to the entire building, including the chapel and living quarters for more than 25 nuns.
According to Sister Joan Ridley of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, their power bills are down by 80 percent.
She seems unlikely to serve as a maintenance person for a large, old building. But it’s her job at the monastery, along with assisting the sanctuary prioress.
Listen to the story:
Not long ago, the nun couldn’t tell a thermostat from an air handler. She chuckled and said she learned with a bit of “screaming and fussing.”
Installing solar panels to cut energy usage and costs was a wise economic decision for the Benedictine Sanctuary. According to Sister Ridley, it was even more important spiritually.
Energy efficiency is essentially rooted in their religious tradition. The Benedictine Sisters believe that the ordinary is sacred.