Green Business Case Study: Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Franciscan Sisters logo

The Tau Center in Kirkwood is the administrative office of this religious order, housing programming including Franciscans for Earth. As Catholic sisters serving God’s people since 1901, this order has adopted care of the earth as a modern core function of their ministry, working through education, collaboration and advocacy.

Green Measures at Work in this Non-Profit Organization’s Business Office:
  • Built this office facility in 1998, incorporating energy conservation measures.
    • Programmable thermostats support comfort and efficiency
    • Individual heating units serve small groups of offices
    • Highly efficient central air conditioning roof units
    • HVAC efficiency saves about $6,000 compared to convention system of same size
    • Lighting audit provided by Graybar Electric facilitated highly efficient lighting choices
    • Motion-detectors turn off lights when an area is unoccupied for more than 15 minutes
  • Day-to-day operational practices enhance system efficiencies
    • All office equipment is on power strips to eliminate phantom power, protect from surges
    • Staff turns off computers except on days for network updates
  • Comprehensive recycling minimizes trash outputs
    • Trash dumpster shared with neighboring Kinder Care is only emptied twice weekly
    • Eco-ministry staffer takes office food waste to home composting, used in staff garden
    • Recycling and composting are also practiced in DeSoto, Missouri rural facility used for vacations for sisters and their families

Broader Green Influences:
  • Formed a partnership with Allied Waste and Quik Trip to pilot recycling collection in the chain’s fuel station convenience stores, ultimately implementing single-stream recycling in all 63 St. Louis area Quik Trip locations.
  • Also supported Quik Trip working with their suppliers to switch to lower-impact product packaging; as a result, nearly 90 percent of the waste generated in these stores can now be recycled.
  • Posted and regularly rotate educational signs near the Sisters’ office, where high volumes of vehicle and pedestrian traffic can see positive environmental messaging.
  • Systematically removing cedar, Japanese honeysuckle and other invasive plants from the DeSoto property, and replanting with an assortment of native plants to attract and support wildlife;
    • Working in partnership with Missouri Master Naturalists, using state conservation agency recommendations;
    • Invented a “honeysuckle popper” tool that dislodges invasive bush roots from the soil.

This Organization Has More Green Plans:
  • Continuing and expanding educational offerings—including films, discussions, special events—at Tau Center and in the community of Kirkwood—to engage others in Green thinking and practice
  • Sponsoring community events that promote sustainability awareness and practice

Green Ideas Your Business Can Use:
  • Save outdated electronic equipment for free recycling through periodic community collections.
  • Keep it simple: implement simple, consistent energy-saving measures everyone can use.
  • Don’t hide your energy consciousness under a bushel! Even small measures, practiced by individuals or small organizations or businesses add up to significant savings—in your business budget and for the earth.
  • Include eco-logical messaging in your work—your example and your customer or client education will influence others to care for earth’s resources—and will generate resource savings.
Member of Kirkwood DesPeres Chamber of Commerce and Kirkwood Living Green.
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