Bainbridge Island, Washington
Congregation Kol Shalom has gone electric! They replaced an old fuel-oil boiler with heat pumps cutting out their gas use entirely, and are preventing 9.6 tons of carbon emissions annually. They are certified at the 60% reduction level. The upfront cost was approximately $14,000 and they are saving approximately $2900 in energy cost annually. At this rate of savings on their energy bill, they expect to recoup their initial investment in under five years.
“We feel honored to become a Certified Cool Congregation.” Rabbi Darío Feiguin of Congregation Kol Shalom writes, “We read in Leviticus 25:23: “But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me.” We need to be conscious that God´s Creation must be protected and preserved in order to follow the commandment of passing life from generation to generation. There is a task for every person to become a partner of God in Tikkun Olam, that is to repair the imperfect and unfinished work of Creation.”
Read the story of how Congregation Kol Shalom is living out Tikkun Olam in the words of Deborah Rudnick, a member of the congregation:
We are a vibrant Jewish community with a commitment to social and environmental justice whose facilities did not match these commitments. Our facility was built in the 1980s and included an extremely inefficient heating system with redundant registers and a fuel oil system. Our initial explorations suggested that by removing the fuel oil as an energy source and switching to ductless heat pumps, we could save our congregation thousands of dollars a year in heating costs and several metric tons of CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions. Because this would be a significant investment to make this change, we reached out to our utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), who assisted us with rebates and expertise. We hired a HVAC specialist and converted the sanctuary heating system from a fuel-oil boiler to an efficient heat pump in Spring of 2021. This switch saved our congregation thousands of dollars per year in heating costs and reduced our energy use for the sanctuary by nearly 60%.
We made a significant investment in reducing the carbon footprint of our sanctuary because our membership is seriously concerned about the climate crisis and want to do our part to reduce emissions.
The result of our energy conversion was a quieter, more comfortable, less energy intensive heating system that will also provide cooling capacity for warmer summers. We are very proud of this work and look forward to taking more steps to green our congregation.
The climate crisis is one of the greatest threats that humankind faces. The Jewish faith teaches the principle of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world – that as a people, we may not sit by when we see social or environmental injustice being done. It is our responsibility to be part of the solutions for this crisis.