BELGIUM: New projects focus on environment
Salesian Farnières Center upgrades to biomass heating system
(MissionNewswire) The Farnières Center in Belgium is the home of Salesian missionaries and Salesian sisters with Daughter of Mary Help of Christians. They reside there and, with the help of lay volunteers, welcome groups for retreats, meetings and training events. The center is located in the middle of a forest between Vielsalm and Trois-Ponts in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes.
The center has been working to upgrade its facilities to be environmentally friendly. Each year, approximately 15,850 gallons (60,000 liters) of diesel fuel are needed to heat the halls, dormitories, rooms and various bungalows. More than 10 years ago, the center’s managers installed photovoltaic panels to provide a better source of electricity.
In December 2022, a new biomass heating system went into operation with two boilers using wood chips, which is a more environmentally friendly source of heat. This is the largest investment made by the center since a major renovation 25 years ago.
In addition to this work, 20 volunteers came together to plant 1,000 trees and shrubs on the grounds. The goal was to transform the large lawn bordering the main access path to the center into a welcoming place. There is a green area for picnics surrounded by bushes, spaces for sharing in small groups bordered by hedges and footpaths for walking. The hedges consist of black currant, red currant and raspberry bushes. An orchard of apples, plums, cherries and pears has been also planted, which will contribute to the food supply of the center in the future.
“Salesian organizations around the globe have been focused on environmental sustainability projects in response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ to raise awareness and increase action on the values of integral ecology,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians are working to create an environment that is safe and caring for all life on the planet while building up a new generation of environmentally committed citizens and leaders.”
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