Environment Picture

Sisters’ Monroe Motherhouse earns green accolades, encourages public tours

More than 750 people see sustainability in action in 2009
Visitors to the IHM Motherhouse learn about sustainable systems, including geothermal heating and cooling.
The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) home in Monroe is the motherhouse of green renovation and a “masterpiece of energy-efficiency,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Now a growing number of Michiganders are learning first-hand of the remarkable facility through group tours that are free of charge and available to the public.

The IHM Sisters, an MEC member group, have hosted thousands of visitors on hundreds of tours of their home since 2003. A total of 755 people learned about the incredible renovation story on 54 guided tours in 2009.

The wonder of sustainable systems and architecture has won 11 local, state and national awards, including the 2002 Clean Air Award and 2007 Energy Star Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, and the 2008 Keep Michigan Beautiful Award.

The two-hour educational tours begin with a short video, “The Blue Nuns Go Green,” featuring the sisters’ vision of sustainability and the story of the actual renovation of the 376,000-square-foot Motherhouse. Next, visitors are guided on a tour of sustainable systems such as gray water recycling, geothermal heating and cooling, and other energy efficient and environmentally friendly features of the renovation. After the indoor tour, visitors may want to explore the outdoor sustainable features, including the restored native meadows, constructed wetlands, organic garden, vegetated swales, labyrinth and contemplative landscapes with pathways that link spirituality and nature.

For more information or to schedule a tour of the IHM Motherhouse, please call Sharon Venier at 734-240-9754 or email at svenier@ihmsisters.org.
RELATED TOPICS: energy efficiency
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