As a Catholic high school, Xavier High School has always been fully powered by The Son.
Now it also is fully powered by the sun.
There are about 1,300 solar panels on the roof and the side of the school. That’s a big number, but these other numbers, Greenhouse Gas offset statistics, tell more of the story as Xavier is about six months into the solar process:
- 74.12 tons of methane
- 150.8 tons of carbon
- 0.55 kilotons of carbon dioxide.
All of that while generating 422.6 megawatt hours of clean power.
“Through the Greenhouse Gas offset, 74 tons of methane that would typically be released from Xavier has not been in the last six months,” Xavier Headmaster Dave Eustis said. “What we hear from scientists is methane and carbon dioxide are the main ingredients that retain heat and don’t allow it to be released into the atmosphere. Between the methane and the carbon and carbon dioxide that we are not putting out into the atmosphere, we’re doing our part to make the school as green as possible.”
“Through the Greenhouse Gas offset, 74 tons of methane that would typically be released from Xavier has not been in the last six months,”
Xavier Headmaster Dave Eustis
Greenhouse gases can trap heat; the concern is that too many of these gases are being added to the atmosphere.
“I am so pleased that Xavier has taken up the charge of caring for God’s Creation through the use of solar energy,” Religion Department Chair Jeremy Fowler said. “As Pope Francis has stated, ‘The Church is conscious of the responsibility which all of us have for our world, for the whole of creation, which we must love and protect. There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favor justice, promote reconciliation and build peace.’ ”
Care for God’s creation is one of the social teachings of the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis has often spoken on the issue. On Sept. 1, World Day Of Prayer For The Care Of Creation, he talked about humans exploiting God’s creation.
And God saw that it was good’
“ ‘And God saw that it was good’ (Gen. 1:25). God’s gaze, at the beginning of the Bible, rests lovingly on his creation,” Pope Francis said. “From habitable land to life-giving waters, from fruit-bearing trees to animals that share our common home, everything is dear in the eyes of God, who offers creation to men and women as a precious gift to be presaged.”
Pope Francis goes on to say, “Tragically the human response to this gift has been marked by sin, selfishness and a greedy desire to possess and exploit. Egoism and self-interest have turned creation, a place of encounter and sharing, into an arena of competition and conflict. In this way the environment itself is endangered: something good in God’s eyes has become something to be exploited in human hands. Deterioration has increased in recent decades: constant pollution, the continued use of fossil fuels, intensive agricultural exploitation and deforestation are causing global temperatures to rise above safe levels.”
From Sept. 20-27 million around the world joined in climate protests in which they sought to see governments and others take more action against global warming.
“The Xavier religion department discusses care for our world on multiple levels across multiple grade levels,” Fowler said. “In Sacred Scripture, students learn of the value of all of God’s creations, in Morality classes, students are faced with the ethics behind conserving our God-given resources, and in Peace and Justice classes, students are presented with the call of all people to a spirit of stewardship. Xavier’s solar project is just one of many instances where students are taught not only by words, but by example.”
Xavier does not yet have annualized cost savings, but that is another result of going to solar power. Energy costs are reduced while helping the atmosphere, a win-win situation.
by Jeff Otterbein