Sunday, June 03, 2007

Vatican goes green with solar roofs

The Vatican's traditional colors of white and gold are starting to look green with a new solar energy project.

A rooftop garden of solar panels is set to be installed on the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall. The solar energy project will begin next year and, when completed, will create enough electricity to heat, cool and light the entire building year-round, the Catholic News Service reported.

"Solar energy will provide all the energy (the building) needs," said Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican's department of technical services.

And that is only the beginning. Cuscianna said that he had in mind other sites throughout Vatican City where solar panels could be installed, but that it was too early in the game to name names.

Although Vatican City State is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding international environmental pact to cut greenhouse gases, its inaugural solar project marks a major move in trying to reduce its own carbon footprint.

When the project is finished, more than 1,000 solar panels will cover the football field-sized roof. Whatever solar power the hall is not using will be funneled into the Vatican's energy grid and benefit other energy needs.

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