Energy: Facility-Wide

JR Rich examines a 103 kw solar photovoltaic installation he spearheaded at JCC of Staten Island, a Hazon Seal site. The solar panels reduce the agency's carbon emissions by 84 tons annually, the equivalent of planting 63 acres of forest per year.

Did you know the energy sector is the greatest contributor to global climate change? In terms of total greenhouse gas emissions, the production of energy makes up about a third of the total emissions in the United States. This is because we still rely heavily on fossil fuels, which warm our atmosphere when we burn them for energy.

Think about how many devices and appliances you use each day that require energy—there are probably so many of them that it is hard to remember them all! Buildings and institutions use even more. Only by assessing your energy systems can you know how to reduce energy use and improve efficiency. This formal assessment process is called an audit. Once completed, you can identify the areas where you can improve the way you use energy and set goals.

Working on your institution's (or your home's) energy efficiency and usage is also an easy environmental practice that will actually save you money! Energy efficiency is the practice of updating facilities and systems so that they use energy more efficiently, so that less is wasted and in turn less is used. This can be as simple as purchasing better insulation or replacing an incandescent light bulb with an LED.

In addition, preventative maintenance will help you in catching little fixes before they become large problems and costs. It is valuable to know how your building and equipment operates and to be vigilant about keeping records. Preventative maintenance will save money and energy today and in the future as you extend the life of equipment.

Renewable energy sources are an exciting alternative to fossil fuels. Solar and wind energy in particular are growing in popularity as they become more and more cost competitive with fossil fuels (which are heavily subsidized by the government). The fossil fuel industry is dirty, in terms of the waste and pollution created by extraction and production, and in terms of the negative impact on communities and workers involved with the industry.

The building envelope is the physical barrier between the inside of a space and the outside, and it offers one of the largest opportunities to make an impact on your heating and cooling costs. A well-maintained building envelope can also reduce pest management concerns and improve air quality. Have your staff well trained in identifying cracks or areas of leakage, but also utilize experts who can ensure that your energy costs are put to good use.

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Planning and Audits

Educate on how to reduce emissions
2 points
Education
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Collect utility data
2 points
Action
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Pledge you are "Still In!"
2 points
Advocacy
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Exercise preventative maintenance in building
2 points
Action
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Audit energy (Level I)
3 points
Action
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Advocate for subsidies for energy saving solutions
3 points
Advocacy
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Maximize energy efficiency based on participants use of facility
3 points
Education
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Share your space
3 points
Action
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Periodically review energy use and plan to reduce
4 points
Action
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Audit energy (Level II)
5 points
Action
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Green your construction/renovation policy
5 points
Action
More info

Renewable Energy

Post signage about renewable energy measures taken as an institution
1 points
Education
Educate about renewable energy and energy efficiency
2 points
Education
More info
Train key people in the importance of maintaining renewable energy sources
2 points
Education
More info
Install or maintain a solar ner tamid in a synagogue sanctuary
3 points
Action
Source green energy
3 points
Action
More info
Green your energy policy
4 points
Advocacy
More info
Advocate for renewable energy
4 points
Advocacy
More info
Install a working solar photovoltaic system to produce electricity
5 points
Action
Install a wind turbine to produce electricity
5 points
Action

Envelope

Paint a "white roof" on your building
3 points
Action
More info
Improve air tightness and reduce energy lost through the envelope
3 points
Action
More info
Install a green roof
5 points
Action
More info
Utilize daylight techniques in your building
5 points
Action
More info
Improve building insulation
5 points
Action
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Related Resources

Let’s Go Solar

This website offers an interactive consumer guide to purchasing solar. http://www.letsgosolar.com/

Jewish Energy Guide

The Jewish Energy Guide presents a Jewish approach to the challenges of tackling climate change, greening our institutions, and advocating for cleaner energy.

New York Interfaith Power and Light

A national coalition that provides a religious response to climate change and supports congregations taking action to address global warming.

Should You Buy Carbon Offsets?

A helpful article for learning about carbon offsets and whether they are right for you or your institution. Access this resource here.

Case Study: Solar Energy

See how another Jewish institution installed solar panels, and use their strategies as inspiration for your own institution!

Energy Star: Energy Manager

The EPA created this online tool for measuring and tracking energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenfaith’s Thirteen Steps to Save Energy

A list of twelve steps for getting started on energy conservation.