US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Catholics turn to the sun for power

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Here are two hopeful stories about Catholic going green that also show our limitations:

Catholic University of America announced the installation of solar panels on four buildings on its campus, in Washington, D.C.

Hope: Their partnership with Washington Gas Energy Services Inc. seems to be an intriguing model for future growth of solar energy. CUA pays nothing for the installation and maintainance of the solar panels and has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices. This model might encourage people who can't afford the initial investment to install solar panels.

Limitation: The panels produce less than 1 percent of the energy used by the University. Any real efforts to combat global warming will require changes in our consumption.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara University placed third in a U.S. Department of Energy competition to design solar homes. It was the only Catholic university to participate.

Hope: Bright, young minds are thinking about how to make homes better in the future.

Limitations: Can we build ourselves to a greener future? What about all the existing (and foreclosed) homes that aren't so energy efficient? Finally, these houses are small and expensive--up to $450,000 according to the full Catholic News Service story.

Finally, we're at the tail end of the week of action for Fighting Poverty with Faith, an interfaith initiative that includes Catholic Charities. Their focus: creating good, green jobs.