Catholic Institutions Reduce Carbon Footprint

Solar panels sit on the roof of Cardinal Ritter Junior and Senior High School in Indianapolis Feb. 1, 2022.  Source: Catholic News

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been working hard to reduce its carbon footprint with two of its major institutions installing solar panels. Both Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis and on St. Meinrad Archabbbey’s campus in Spencer County have adopted solar technology.

To help reduce their carbon footprint and align themselves with Pope Francis’s call for Catholic institutions to reduce their carbon footprints as part of a global effort to reduce the rate of climate change, Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis, Indiana has installed a solar panels to help make the school more eco-friendly.

At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, twenty-eight solar panels were installed at the school and have since been incorporated into STEM lessons designed to help students learn about renewable energy and how care for creation is an important aspect of the Catholic faith.

“We’re asking our students to do God’s work. And so, we’re trying to model that,” said Caroline Sperry, a Cardinal Ritter science teacher. “I tell the kids that I compost at home. I drive hybrid vehicles. I do what I can. I’m not just talking about it. I’m trying to put my faith into action.”

Additionally, more than 3,000 solar panels were installed on St. Meinrad Archabbbey’s Benedictine Monastery.

The decision was made easier by the reduction in cost of solar technology which has fallen by 60% in the past four years. Physical Facilities Director, Mark Hoffman, said the financial cost reduction “really solidified” the project for the archabbey “but, in the end, it was a good thing to do for the environment.”

At Cardinal Ritter, Sperry told local archdiocesan newspaper the installation of the solar panels “energizes me to talk to my students about it.”

“The emphasis on renewable energies is just going to get more important. More of our students might be going into careers in renewable energies and researching how to make them more accessible to people,” she said.

The lesson will happen in part through a mobile device application that can show students real-time data about the energy being produced by the solar panels.

Jo Hoy, President of Cardinal Ritter, said the new panels will also make the school more physical to students by providing more lighting opportunities.

Commenting on how the decreased cost helped make the solar technology affordable she said, “It had been on our radar. We just financially had other needs ahead of that, because it isn’t cheap.”

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has highlighted both the monastery and high school as shining examples of how other parishes and institutions can work as meaningful stewards engaged in environmental care.

Source: Catholic News