The Benedictine Women of Madison's Holy Wisdom Monastery has received the nation's highest ranking for a green building, earning a LEED Platinum rating with 63 out of 69 possible points from the U.S. Green Building Council for new construction.

The Benedictine Women's building, at 4200 Highway M in Middleton, is a conference center built with the help of sustainability consultant Vertegy, based in St. Louis, Mo., and Appleton-based Hoffman LLC, a design and construction management firm. Other Wisconsin-based team members were Fredericksen Engineering, Czarnecki Engineering and LGD Engineering.

The two-level, 34,380-square-foot building opened in August. It contains space for worship, retreats, concerts and conferences.

Green features include open areas restored to native prairie habitat; special roofing to decrease heat islands; a low-flow lavatory and kitchen faucets; a geothermal heating and cooling system; photovoltaic cells to generate solar energy for 13 percent of the building's total energy needs; more than 99 percent of construction and demolition waste diverted from the landfill; floors made of bamboo, a rapidly renewable material; use of regional building materials; and large windows for natural lighting, with customized glass to eliminate the need for window blinds.

Wisconsin now has two of the three highest-rating Platinum buildings in the council's LEED portfolio. The Aldo Leopold Center in Baraboo earned 61 points, followed by the Alberici headquarters building in St. Louis, Mo., with 60 points.

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