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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Gonzaga Goes Green With New Solar Panels

    Solar panels on Carmody Center roof

    With more and more urgency to protect the environment, many steps are being taken to reduce pollution, one of which being the use of solar panels.  Early in December, Gonzaga began installing hundreds of solar panels on top of the roofs of the Carmody Center, Cantwell Hall, and Ruesch Hall.

    This project has been in the works for a little over a year, and it is finally being put into action.  These solar panels are aimed to conserve energy while also benefiting the school.

    “We want to reduce the energy consumption of the school, which is actually a pretty big chunk of the school budget. We’ll be able to reduce our [consumption] by roughly 20 or more percent, which is great environmentally, [and] it’s great in terms of the impact on the school budget,” said Stephen Neill, chief operating officer at Gonzaga.

    Aerial view of solar panels (red) on roofs of Carmody Center, Cantwell Hall, and Ruesch Hall

    The solar panels themselves are very durable, lasting for around 25 years.  With the solar panels producing 20 percent of the school’s energy for an estimated 25 years, Gonzaga’s environmental footprint will significantly shrink.

    This project does not only make sense environmentally and financially, but it also aligns with Jesuit teachings of protecting the earth.

    “It’s really in line with what the Jesuits have outlined as their priorities for the foreseeable future.  They have a thing called the four apostolic preferences, [which are] sort of four priorities that they hope all places that are part of the Jesuit missions, like Gonzaga, will focus on.  One of those is environmental stewardship, [which] they call Care for Our Common Home, so this is very consistent with our Jesuit mission,” Neill said.

    Next semester, the Gonzaga community will have multiple opportunities to learn about the new solar panels.  Discussions will be offered to explain the reasons for getting solar panels, how they are affecting Gonzaga and their progress to any interested students.

    Monitors will also be displaying frequent updates of how much energy is being generated by the solar panels so that students will easily be able to track its impact on the school.

    By joining the ranks in the fight against pollution, Gonzaga hopes it can set an example for other organizations in the area to start installing solar panels of their own.

    “If we raise awareness about it enough, then just everybody feels like they’re part of a solution that is positive and that is benefiting the environment.  It’s also benefiting the school because it’s saving us money, and perhaps it can inspire other people to do something similar,” said John Ausema, science teacher.

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