Located in New Haven, CT
33,000 s.q. footage
Cash Savings: $6000
Energy Savings: 35,714 kWh
Prevented 61,642 pounds of pollution
Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI) a traditional egalitarian participatory Conservative synagogue community in New Haven, CT honors energy and environmental conservation as part of its faith. BEKI has just begun to scratch the surface of its energy-efficiency potential and is focused on conserving, preserving, and saving for many years to come. The temple’s active participation in conservation issues makes the future a little brighter not only for its several hundred members, but for people of all faiths everywhere.
BEKI has Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen to thank for its energy-efficiency rebirth. Tilsen currently is overseeing BEKI’s energy-efficiency projects as well as planning for the temple’s future.
BEKI has already begun with upgrades to its exterior and interior lighting, windows, and air conditioning. Replacing old incandescent lights with new, high-output metal halides in outdoor applications and efficient T-8 fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts in interior offices and hallways was a priority. BEKI replaced a large number of broken and cracked windows to eliminate drafts and upgraded the inefficient 20-year-old air-conditioning units with new energy-efficient models. These efforts already have resulted in $6000 in annual savings and the prevention of 61,642 pounds of CO2 from entering the air each year a promising start with more to come.
Religious beliefs do not permit many Jewish individuals to adjust mechanical or electrical devices (such as lighting and heating) on the Sabbath (sunset Friday through sunset Saturday) and during religious festivals (13 days each year). Therefore, the use of photocells and timers that can be set before the beginning of Sabbath or festivals helps BEKI make sure that lights and systems are on only when needed, while strictly observing their faith. Otherwise, the temple would have to let all building systems run continuously during the Sabbath and festivals, which would be an unintentional waste of resources. What a great example of using technology efficiently to maintain an age-old tradition!
By selecting an architect to design a master plan for energy-efficient building improvements, BEKI is well on its way to a bright and efficient future. Planned facility upgrades include replacing an archaic central cooling system, upgrading all remaining incandescent lights with new, efficient fluorescents, converting an old, single-zone oil heating unit to a system with several smaller, more efficient, multizone units, and adding staged improvements to windows, appliances, ovens, and hot-water heaters.
Energy consumption may be costing your congregation and our environment more than it should. As Congregation BEKI has demonstrated, your congregation can choose from many energy-efficient options available. The savings generated by energy efficiency is measured not only in financial gain, but in something even more important than money: the protection of the Earth, on which we all live and breathe.
Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel
Jon-Jay Tilsen, Rabbi
85 Harrison Street at Whalley Avenue
New Haven, CT 06515-1724
“Energy conservation and environmental concern are deeply held religious values in Conservative Judaism.”
Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel