The Green Building Alliance Features Benedictine Ministry’s Projects

GBA interviews Dianne Sabol

Representatives of the Green Building Alliance, a Pittsburgh non-profit that provides project and technical assistance throughout Western Pennsylvania, came to Erie to interview member organizations of the Erie 2030 District including the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. Sister Dianne Sabol, Sister Annette Marshall, and Dan Welch, a member of the maintenance staff, spoke about the improvements to the buildings on East 10th Street.

The St. Benedict Community Center, built in 1936 and bought by the community in 1999, was one of the green building projects featured in the interview for green building projects including installing energy-saving LED lights and a new energy efficient boiler.
“The St. Benedict Community Center is a space where people feel at home. They knew this place is cared for. They know that they will be cared for,” said Sister Dianne, Program Director at the St. Benedict Community Center. “I would not be able to do this ministry without the help from the entire maintenance staff at the Mount, knowing what is best for the building and most efficient.”

In 2018, the lighting in the Community Center’s gymnasium went through a retrofit for new LED lights. The LED lights are turned on as needed and do not give off excess heat, saving energy and making operations easier. In late 2019, the Community Center had a new and more energy-efficient boiler installed to heat the building. The new boiler has significantly reduced heating costs compared to the original coal boilers, later converted to natural gas.

The Erie Benedictines have made a corporate commitment to protecting the environment by actively addressing the climate crisis, including green building projects. “If we did not have the Benedictine community and the Erie community behind us, none of this would be possible,” commented Sister Annette Marshall, chair of the Care for the Earth Committee.

The recorded interviews were used to create a Green Building Bite, 5-7minute video clip featuring examples of green building or sustainability materials, practices, or organizations in Western Pennsylvania. The Green Building Bites will be premiered at the Erie 2030 District Progress Report Reception 2020 presented virtually on August 10, 2021.

“The Green Building alliance will present the aggregate reduction in electricity and gas energy use in buildings from the Erie 2030 District and celebrate the accomplishments of our partners. It is because of the long and rich partnership between the Benedictine Sisters and GBA and the quality of the Green Building Bite that we are planning to unveil the video for the Progress Report Reception! We want to celebrate your progress and commitment to sustainability,” explained Ellen Conrad, 2030 District Outreach Specialist of the Green Building Alliance.

Sister Dianne Sabol and Dan Welch
Sister Dianne Sabol and Dan Welch
Dan Welch in boiler room
Dan Welch in boiler room
Sister Annette Marshall and GBA staff
Sister Annette Marshall and GBA staff