Temple Beth El in Stamford, Connecticut, now has one of the largest solar panel installations of its kind on a house of worship in the United States and is also the 2013 Cool Congregations Challenge winner in the category of Renewable Energy.
The synagogue’s new 210kW photovoltaic solar panel system utilizes 845 (250 watt) panels on a 30,000 square-foot white “Energy Smart Solar Panel Roof” with three inches of insulation. The estimated power production is 237,479 kWh per year and supplies the majority of the synagogue’s annual energy needs.
Temple Beth El’s “Go Green” effort is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants by eliminating 265 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year — the most of any Certified Cool Congregation so far.
Guided by Elliot Isban, a congregant and president of American Solar & Alternative Power, the synagogue was well on its way to being a model in energy efficiency due to a recent lighting upgrade and the installation of lighting occupancy sensors and high-efficiency variable speed motors and drives. The synagogue also has high-efficiency gas heating.
The project is a point of pride for the congregation, whose leaders say it emphasizes the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, which means “repair of the world,” which urges people to fix what’s broken in society.
Reprinted from the Interfaith Power & Light‘s website.