September 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Congregation is “on track” and making “significant progress” in its efforts to live out the 2016 General Chapter Enactment to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation.”
Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Sustainability Office, gave an update on September 6 on campus sustainability efforts.
Among the areas of progress is a 21 percent reduction in the use of electricity in the past six years, Joel said. “We’re still using the same number of lights and air conditioning, but we’re trying to use energy smarter and in different ways.”
The Congregation has cut down on its use of electricity by installing energy-efficient Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs throughout campus; installing energy-efficient windows; and replacing the old heating and cooling units with newer, energy-efficient and cost-saving models.
The Congregation has also joined Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program which, for a slightly higher rate per kilowatt hour, ensures that the power the Congregation uses from Consumers Energy is from 100 percent renewable sources. During the sustainability report, Phil Walsh, of Consumers Energy, presented Joel with a plaque recognizing the Congregation’s participation.
Joel also informed the audience that he and Sister Corinne are exploring other ways of equipping the campus with renewable energy, such as wind and solar. At this point, studies are being completed to “make sure we have the most accurate and up to date information we can as those decisions are starting to be explored,” Sister Corinne explained.
Another sustainability effort Sister Corinne talked about is campus storm water management. “We are capturing our rain in rain barrels,” she said, explaining that the rain captured during the early spring season was enough to water the Permaculture gardens for a good part of the summer, including five weeks of drought.
In addition, rain gardens direct rain water from impervious sources such as driveways and parking lots into a basin, where it can be slowly absorbed into the ground and, in the process, becomes purified of toxins, Sister Corinne said.
Another success story, Sister Corinne said, is the increase of composting, aided by thousands of healthy worms in the Congregation’s vermiculture area. Since October, she said, the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus and Chartwells, the food service company at Siena Heights University, have reduced the amount of carbon dioxide sent to the landfill by 6,294 pounds. Sister Corinne noted that that is the equivalent of one ton of waste kept from the landfill and to planting 3.5 acres of forest per year.
Sister Corinne also had suggestions for individuals who hope to live more sustainably.
More about this year's Season of Creation events
Feature photo at top: Joel Henricks, left, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, receives a plaque from Phil Walsh of Consumers Energy, recognizing the Congregation in the utility company’s Green Generation program.