The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Benedictine Women of Madison’s Holy Wisdom Monastery a Platinum rating – the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification available. The monastery earned 63 out of a possible 69 points under LEED‐NC version 2.2, the most of any LEED‐NC building in the United States to date.
Holy Wisdom Monastery offered an opportunity to explore what a 21st century Benedictine monastery could be. With no prototype to follow, the project team was guided by the Sisters’ mission of weaving prayer, hospitality, justice, and care for the earth into a shared way of life as an ecumenical Benedictine community. While it was not their original intent to set a LEED record, they were determined to build as sustainably as possible and to encourage others to do so by demonstrating that it could be done affordably.
“For us, sustainability is not a trend,” says Sister Joanne Kollasch, “but a commitment to the earth – a 21st century expression of 1500 years of Benedictine tradition.” Adds Sister Mary David Walgenbach, the monastery’s prioress, “It’s not the thing to do; it’s the right thing to do.”