Vatican Radio, the official broadcasting station of the Holy See, is currently airing an interview with Brother Joseph Byron, in which Brother Joseph discusses the success of Portsmouth's wind turbine and other on-campus energy conservation initiatives. The interview is part of a program called "Going Green," which speaks of the Vatican's increased efforts to play a leadership role in reducing carbon emissions and combating global warming.
The interview, conducted recently through the BBC, is posted on Vatican Radio's Web site under English-speaking programming and discusses the Vatican's goal to be the world's first "carbon-neutral" country. In it, Brother Joseph speaks about the Abbey's conservation efforts, the most visible being the 240-foot turbine, Rhode Island's first commercial-size wind turbine, which has attracted a steady stream of publicity and accolades since it was erected in March 2006. Brother Joseph regularly speaks to civic and environmental groups interested in renewable wind energy, and gives tours to students who come to see how the turbine works.
Of Portsmouth's alternative energy efforts, Brother Joseph said, "We are blessed to live on a truly beautiful piece of property. As monks, we have always felt ourselves to be stewards of this land, preserving it for future generations of monks and students. The turbine project extends that stewardship to a much broader population in a society concerned about larger environmental worries. Our conservation efforts make sense from a cost-savings as well as a 'green' point of view."
In its first year of operation, the wind turbine reduced the School's electrical energy usage by 39.35% and earned more than $200,000 into the School's budget, through electricity cost-savings, electricity sold back to the grid, and renewable energy credits.
The School continues to implement a number of earth-friendly or "green" measures throughout campus, including the replacement of incandescent lighting with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, the use of electric cars for maintenance and security, and the installation of many energy-saving features in the School's new girls' dorm, St. Brigid's.
Listen to Brother Joseph's interview in its entirety.