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Solar Panels Let the Sun Shine In at Mariandale

OSSINING, NY August, 27, 2007-- Solar panels are scheduled be installed August 27-31 on the main building of the Dominican Sisters of Hope and Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center on North Highland Avenue (Route 9) in Ossining. This is the final stage in a process begun several months ago.

Since their founding in 1995, the Dominican Sisters of Hope, who sponsor Mariandale, have had a commitment to environmental issues. The community has had success in securing government grants for implementing energy saving measures for two Catholic schools.

What does all this mean for Mariandale and the Dominican Sisters of Hope?

Over a 10-year period, they will:

  • decrease production of carbon dioxide by one-half million pounds
  • decrease production of sulfur dioxide by nearly 4 million pounds
  • decrease production of nitrous oxide by nearly 3 million pounds.

Mariandale is a four-story building constructed in the early 1960s, when electricity was relatively inexpensive. Costs have risen steadily over the decades. In the 1990s a consultant was hired to assess both lands and buildings on the property at Mariandale. “Nature friendly suggestions were made to decrease our ‘footstep’ on our natural world. Trees were planted and a nature walk and labyrinth constructed. Energy efficient windows were installed, the hot water system retrofitted, and light bulbs were replaced with energy efficient bulbs. My attention then turned toward solar power.”

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers a number of incentives for the reduction of electricity. The Dominican Sisters of Hope were able to secure a grant for the project. An engineer from TRC Energy Services conducted an energy audit in February 2005. The audit provided energy saving suggestions and also delineated the cost effectiveness of producing wind or solar powered electricity.

A celebration of the completed project will take place on Sunday, October 28, 2007 at 2:00 pm. Guest speakers are to include Reverend Patricia Ackerman, program coordinator at Garrison Institute in the area of religion and the environment, and Lisa Rainwater, Riverkeeper’s Indian Point Campaign Director.

“More sustainability projects are scheduled at the Center for the upcoming years,” notes Janet Corso, administrator of the Center, “including energy-efficient lighting and water heaters, paving from recycled materials, and environmentally-friendly furniture.”

For more information about the Dominican Sisters of Hope visit their website at For more information on Mariandale Retreat & Conference Center, visit their website at

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