Lodge near Busby
Learning, Spirit and Renewable Energy
Learning, spirit and renewable
energy have merged on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation near Busby in
south central Montana.
The Learning and Spirit
Lodge, built by the Sisters of St. Francis and the Northern Cheyenne
Reservation community, was blessed and opened on July 29, 2001.
"Its is a dream
come true for the associates, friends and Sisters of St. Francis on the
Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations," said Sister Marya
Northern Cheyenne and Crow women who shaped the vision of Learning and
Spirit Lodge stated in our goals that the building should be 'good for
Mother Earth'," Sister
Marya said. She and
to demonstrate appropriate technology that local families can
incorporate into their homes.
Lodge gets its
electricity from a wind
turbine and solar electricity panels.
It also features an on-demand tankless water heater, passive solar design,
cellulose insulation (R-19 in the walls and
R-44 in the ceiling),
efficient fluorescent lighting, a graywater system, kitchen composting, a
greenhouse and water catchment system, a composting toilet, a deck made of
recycled material and "loving care of two-leggeds."
Learning and Spirit Lodge we commit ourselves to manifesting our
participation with Mother Earth in the cycles of creation,"
said Sister Marya.
wind and solar energy system enables us to fulfill these goals and live
farmer and businessman with an interest in renewable energy, donated the
wind and solar systems. Sister
as "a longtime
supporter of the ministries of our congregation and the Sisters of St.
Francis." The order is based in Oldenburg, Ind.
For help on site, the
Sisters turned to Dan O'Neil of West
Wind Energy, Inc., in Columbus,
who designed and installed the systems in July and August 2001 with the
help of Francis Limpy, a retired Northern Cheyenne supervisor of
electricians. Limpy continues to be the on-site adviser for the system.
The system satisfies the electrical
power needs of the large gathering room, offices, bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
The furnace blower, kitchen, and laundry are on the Big Horn County
Electric Cooperative grid.
overlooking the Rosebud Creek Valley, sits on a sand and clay hill created
by an inland sea 90 millions years ago during the
middle Cretaceous period.
It is surrounded by the pastures and hayfields of Northern Cheyenne ranchers.
buildings are protected from the north by the hill,"
said Sister Marya.We almost always have
at least a breeze."
The Lodge uses a Southwest Windpower "Whisper H-40" rated at
900 watts peak. The four solar panels are Photowatt PW-1000's rated at 900
watts each. The inverter is a Trace SW 4824 (4800 continuous watts) at 24
volts DC. The solar controller is a trace C40.The wind
turbine sits atop a
60-foot tower. A bank of batteries stores power from
the two systems.
got the windmill, and solar panels, and batteries, and the unexpected
bonus of music," said Sister Rachel in the Prayer Lodge Autumn 2001
newsletter. "It sounds like the wind blowing through the pine trees
in our valley. Before, we huffed and puffed about the wind; the day the
mill went operational, we had no wind and no sunshine
a true rarity so
we huffed and puffed towards it."