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I am an interim co-chair of the House Committee at BETC.  In response to your recent request I am submitting a brief report to Boston COEJL on environmentally beneficial measures our synagogue has taken.  The final one is something we are still in negotiations over, but hope to be able to accomplish as soon as we can. If you'd like further detail on any or all of it, please let me know.

 1.  We had an energy audit done over 10 years ago by Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light.
2.  Using the recommendations from MIP&L we installed new high efficiency boilers and roof-top heating and cooling units for the sanctuary and social hall in 2004.  In the process we got rid of oil tanks and switched to natural gas.  All thermostats are programmable.
3.  We began recycling some amount of plastic through the Town of Belmont's curbside program during the last ten years.  However, this effort needs to be expanded.
4.  We are aware of the need to dispose of paint and toxic chemicals properly, making use of the toxic waste center in Lexington.
5.  Almost all our lighting is now fluorescent or LED, although we agreed to maintain some incandescent lighting to benefit a temple member who is sensitive to fluorescent light. 
6.  A member of the congregation has been collecting electronic devices for proper recycling.
7.  In 2012 we replaced all the windows in our school and administration wing with new, double-pane units.
8.  This summer we agreed to host some raised-bed planters on our property for the Belmont Food Collaborative to raise vegetables for the Belmont Farmers Market.
9.  A few years ago we organized an environmental fair to show our members how they could take measures at home to save energy, recyle, collect rain-water, etc.  We also participated in a local program (through Sustainable Belmont, I think) to assess and curtail energy usage.
10.  We are currently in negotiation with SunBug Solar for the installation of a large solar array on our flat roof.  This follows several years of talking to various companies with no agreement reached.  The lawyers are reviewing their proposal to us, but we think we are closer than ever to having a workable plan.
Jonathan Jacoby





From the Mass. Interfaith Power & Light newsletter:

Profile in Sustainability: The Boston Synagogue

THE BOSTON SYNAGOGUE  55 Martha Road Boston, MA 02114 617-523-0453

By Jeff Steinfeld, MIP&L Executive Committee

In the early 1900s, the West End of Boston was home to a diverse community of immigrant groups. During the "urban renewal" of the 1960s, much of this community was demolished, including numerous houses of worship in the area. One of these old synagogues, Congregation Beth Hamidrash Hagodol Beth Jacob, secured a tract of land in the development area and reconstituted itself as the Charles River Park (now The Boston) Synagogue.

Several years ago, Boston Synagogue's increasing awareness of environmental and energy issues such as climate change – as well as increasing utility costs – led them to consider ways to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption. MA Interfaith Power & Light made an initial evaluation of the situation and made recommendations.

The results of the energy improvements made are dramatic. During 2009 Boston Synagogue reduced their carbon emissions by 70 %. Their annual energy costs have decreased by 57 % during this period, and annual repair and maintenance bills dropped. As a result, the estimated payback time on their capital investment is about 5 years.

The Energy Improvements

One of Boston Synagogues major challenges was that their HVAC system was becoming increasingly costly and unreliable. The existing system, which was original to the building, relied on generating steam in a coal burning power station in Boston, piping the steam across the city, using the steam to heat air in the synagogue's basement, and forcing the heated air through ducts in the building until the sanctuary started to warm up. This highly inefficient and expensive system required several hours to heat the space once it was turned on.

After reviewing several alternatives, the synagogue selected an air-source heat pump system with a variable inverter-driven compressor that only works as hard as needed, and which generates hot or cold air in the sanctuary space within minutes of turn-on. A 15-ton compressor unit was specified, and in the first phase four 2.5-ton air handlers were installed. The experience with this unit was so satisfactory that during summer 2009, two additional 2.5-ton air handlers were installed. The full system, utilizing balanced air flows and programmable thermostats, has met all heating and cooling needs, so that no coal-generated steam needed to be used during 2009.

Boston Synagogue made additional energy savings improvements, including installing additional roof insulation, replacing incandescent floodlights that were on 24/7 with CFLs, and replacing an original-equipment food storage refrigerator with a new Energy Star® model. All of these measures have contributed to this remarkable energy use reduction, but the major cause has been the new HVAC system.

Ethical Principle

In addition to cost savings, the Boston Synagogue's energy efficiency program actualizes the principle of tikkun olam, or "repairing/perfecting the world", in Jewish ethics. When connections have been broken between human individuals, human society, and the larger natural systems of which we are all a part and on which we all depend, it is our obligation to repair those connections. The Synagogue's efforts to reduce their environmental footprint recognize the renewal of the natural world following the winter season, and are grounded in this basic ethical principle.


During this process, Boston Synagogue has communicated actively with their membership and the wider community. A summary of the actions taken and the results achieved appears on their web site at The themes of environmental preservation and tikkun olam have been frequently discussed during religious services, particularly on Tu b'Shevat (the 15th day of the month of Shevat).





 Tuesday, August 24, 2010 7:06 PM

From: "Judy K" < >

 Greetings from Cape Cod;

At our last Board meeting, Am HaYam Cape Cod Havurah voted to support the "Go Green" pledge of the COEJL. 

Although we do not have our own building, we are planning to increase our recycling efforts and encourage our members to bring their own coffee mugs to our programs and services. We are also eliminating the use of all Styrofoam products.

Best Wishes,

Judy Keller

President, Am HaYam Cape Cod Havurah





Dear Susie,

Representing KI (Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline), we'd like to sign on to the pledge. We already have a committee actively working in this area. Glad you are doing this.

Shulamit Kahn, President

Congregation Kehillath Israel

384 Harvard St.

Brookline MA 02446

Synagogue Telephone: 617-277-9155






i am responding on behalf of TBZ.  following are summaries from various cohorts who have contributed to our efforts:

re: the building - 
- Retrofitted the sanctuary lights to high efficiency LED lamps.
- Composting all lawn trimmings.
- Conducted an energy efficiency audit.
- Installed programmable thermostats and (some) weather stripping on doors.
- Purchased an Energy Star rated gas fired hot water heater and refrigerator.
- Will replace our existing boiler with a downsized unit.
re: kitchen practices - 
We recycle all paper, cardboard boxes, plastics, cans, and bottles, etc. using the appropriate bins. The Seltzer bottles that we use are redeemed (by our facilitator), so we store the empty ones separately for her. On occasion, there have been a few people who signed up to be on the Kiddush prep team who compost at home. On those occasions, they have taken the compost with them.
re: education - 
we had a greening campaign 3 years ago through our Tikkun Olam Group which encouraged greater awareness and "greener" choices in our homes, primarily, but also in TBZ and all parts of our lives.
in addition, we are launching a year long project next year in keeping with the pre-shemitta year that will be looking at ethical eating and sustainable practices.  the project will combine learning and actions.  
re:  supplies:  

PC-Made from P.C.C. (Post Consumer Recycled Content)

PI-Made from P.I.C. (Post Industrial Recycled Content)

PR-From 100% Recycled Paper




9" Green Wave Paper Plates  - RE, BI

6" Green Wave Paper Plates  - RE, Bi

12 Ounce Plastic Bowls  - RE

8 Ounce Paper Hot Cups -  RE

9 Ounce Plastic Cold Cups  - RE

1 Ounce Kiddush Cups  - RE

2 Ounce Kidush Cups  - RE

Heavy Plastic Forks  - RE

Heavy Plastic Knives  - RE

Heavy Plastic Teaspoons -  RE

Paper Napkins  - PC, RP, RE, BI

45 Gallon Gorilla Bags  - PI, RE

Paper Towel Rolls  - PC, RP, RE, BI

Dishwashing Soap -  BI

Saran Wrap  - RE

Toilet Paper -  PC, RP, RE, BI

Soft Soap -  BI

Hand Sanitizer  - BI

Multifold Paper Towels -  PC, RP, RE, BI

22 x 33 Clear Plastic Bags  - RE


i hope this info is helpful and clear.  


judy schechtman

chair - tikkun olam committee





Re: Requesting "The Green Guide for Mass. Synagogues"

From: "Zipora Ostroy" 

Cc: "Mark Goldner" , "Rabbi Andrew Vogel"

Hi Susie, 

Temple Sinai is trying to become greener, and it's an effort in which I am involved. I've copied Mark Goldner, our Environmental Committee chair, and Rabbi Vogel on this email so they know what this conversation is about

I saw the listing about the Green Guide by following the links that started with an email I got from SCM. Other than sending you an email, I didn't know anything else about it, including the cost. As I said, we are interested and committed to this, but any specifics we could get would be useful. It's also possible that the presentation you're developing about this would benefit our congregation - we certainly should continue to talk.

Sinai's three-part class on environmental issues concluded last Sunday. With the sessions split between an environmental scientist talking about his area and Rabbi Vogel giving the Jewish perspective from the texts, it was a terrific combination.

So many of the things you mentioned I've not heard of, such as GesherCity, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, and interfaith climate control ventures in the Boston area. (I've only been in the area three years so that may account for some of it; both Mark and Rabbi Vogel may be familiar with them.) Not only is Temple Sinai interested in greening, but we are also interested in community and interfaith cooperative ventures.

Thanks for the work you're doing on this. I'm looking forward to continued discussions.




We just completed an upgrade of our interior and exterior lighting to be more energy efficient.. Attached are the projected savings based


Rabbi E. Gottlieb
Temple Beth David of the South Shore

"The world stands upon three things: upon Torah, upon sacred worship, and upon acts of loving-kindness." (Pirkei Avot) 






Currently we do the following.

·         Email our Bulleting instead of mailing it.

·         Reuse the back side of paper for in house drafts and reports.

·         Take all boxes and paper to recycling center instead of putting in the dumpster.

·         Recycle bottles and cans at recycling center

·         Use programmable thermostats for heating and cooling

·         Use dishes instead of paper and plastic utensils whenever possible

·         Have many zones for heating  and cooling.

·         We do not have plantings that require weekly or daily watering.

·         Do not use serve water in individual bottles.  Use pitchers and paper cups instead

·         Do not serve single serving sodas or juices

·         Do not use plastic cups


Ellen Bernstein

Executive Director

Congregation Sha’aray Shalom

1112 Main Street

Hingham, MA  02043



 At Congregation Sha’aray Shalom we have put the following changes in place to help reduce our carbon foot print.

·         programmable thermostats

·         motion detection lights in our restrooms

·         use dishes and silverware at our community dinners and onegs for most events

·         use cloth table linens

·         when purchasing food and beverages we chose those with less packaging

·         we do NOT use individual bottled water

·         we recycle paper, plastic, metal, light bulbs, printer ink cartridges

·         we email our flyers, weekly announcements and monthly bulletins

·         we reuse paper in our printers for in house copies and drafts

·         we keep the thermostat low in winter and high in summer





Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley had the first ever solar-powered Ner Tamid, installed in the 1970s.  We have always strived to be gentle on the environment through recycling and making wise choices (such as using real plates, glasses, and cutlery for oneg and functions rather than disposable).  Several years ago, we replaced our incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs, changing fixtures when necessary.  As we are able, we insulate and weather-proof.  Last year, we replaced our boiler and hot water system with an energy efficient model, which has reduced our gas usage as well as keeping us much more comfortable.  We will be continuing to transition to green cleaning products. Please contact me at if more information is needed. 

Sharon Reed Logvin, Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley  

Added: Temple Emanuel received an Honorable Mention from the City of Lowell's Green Building Commission for its efforts in becoming more energy efficient, and members participated in Earth Hour last weekend (I can see about the exact numbers if you want them). 





Ordered a free energy audit from NStar

NStar then paid 50 percent of the costs of all renovations, which saved money as well.





Our social action committee has been greening our synagogue for about three years. It began when we had a group of six families work on the Low Carbon Diet after we brought  a speaker in.We have changed light bulbs, recycle at our synagogue, secular preschool and summer camp.  Since our trash pick up company does not recycle and the city of Medford will not pick up our trash since we are a non-profit, one of our congregants takes all of our recyclables to the transfer station in his town for recycling. We stopped using paper plates and cups for onegs and Kiddush and now use our beautiful  antique china. We replaced thermostats with programmable ones, outside lights are on timers. The windows in our sanctuary were replaced with new energy efficient windows. We also started an organic garden last summer, watered with collected rain water, and donated the produce to a local shelter. We also send an e-bulletin for anyone who has email. 

Melanie Kenion, Chair, Social Action Committee




Temple Aliyah, Needham


Here is a summary of the ongoing efforts at Temple Aliyah:


1. With the help of two of our younger congregants, a recycling program was started and we are now recycling paper, plastic and aluminum.  Each classroom and office, including the kitchen, has a recycling bin and we are saving money by reducing our trash and increasing our recycling.

2.      Using EPA/ EnergyStar Portfolio Manager tools, one of our congregants continues to benchmark energy and water use and evaluate TA monthly energy and water efficiency.

3.      The same congregant is also working with the President and Board to purchase & install solar array renewable electrical energy.


Thank you,


Marie Savrides

Administrative Assistant

Temple Aliyah

1664 Central Avenue

Needham, MA 02492





Below are the green initiatives from Temple Aliyah in Needham, MA.  You may have received this information earlier; if not, I apologize that we are just passing this along now.  I hope you find it useful. 


Thank you,

Marie Savrides


All information obtained from Mike Brier

Completed Upgrade Projects:

•             The Green Committee replaced all incandescent lamps with LED lamps

•             House Committee replaced the old large roof HVAC with more efficient unit-- I understand this was reaction and not choice

•             Men's Club replaced all 32 watt fluorescents with 28 watt lamps(winter 2013)

•             I weatherized all exterior doors--replaced/ added weather stripping, added sweep to office, hebrew school back door,  and main sanctuary doors. repaired latches, painted main sanctuary Bimah door.

•             Benchmarking water use (See  PM below) discovered serious sprinkler leak.  Repaired outdoor sprinkler system which saved over $2000 in summer 2012.

•             2011 began using the US Environmental Protection Agency Portfolio Manager (PM)system model for calculating energy performance for house of worship building. TA started with below average 43% rating.

On-going projects:

•             Monthly I benchmark TA energy and water use.  From this data PM calculates TA building energy performance rating.  This rating compares TA to similar US buildings.

•             PM also calculates financial performance and showed that for 2012 the completed upgrade projects (above) above saved TA over $4000 and increased TA building energy performance rating from 43% to 54% .

•             PM calculated that the Men's Club project increased energy performance to 55%, the current rating.

•             TA is discussing solar array alternative electricity to replace national grid source electricity.

•             TA is investigating replacing exterior windows in offices, Hebrew school, small sanct., library, and social halls. 

I've chaired the Green Committee since its inception last year.  We were just getting underway when the Temple decided to adopt Haganat HaTeva (Appreciating and Protecting Nature) as our theme for the year.  So we accomplished a few things and then started organizing the Energy Fair.

Last year:  We identified a vendor for soy-based utensils and have attempted to order (although inventory is sometimes not available).  We had 2 energy audits through NSTAR, replaced many bulbs with CFLs, and have dimmable CFLs waiting to be installed.  Started looking at recycling, but need to spend more time on this.

This year:  Organized outings to Spectacle Island and Blue Hills Reservation (part of our theme of "appreciating nature"), and are now fully immersed in planning for the Energy Fair on Jan. 9.  I've pasted our promotional blurb below, to give you a sense of what the fair encompasses. 

Thanks for your interest, and please let me know if you have more questions.



Vicki L. Krupp

Green Committee, Temple Aliyah

Please join us for the Temple Aliyah community-wide Energy Fair on Sunday, January 9, 10:30 - 1:30 - a fun, educational event for the whole family.  Featuring:

- Table top exhibitors with information on every aspect of green living, from solar panels to pesticide-free lawn care to high-efficiency appliances

- A panel discussion on energy audits to improve your home's efficiency and save you money

- Plug-in electric Ford Escape and hybrid Ford Fusion for viewing 

- An interactive Radio Disney educational program for children ages 5 to 13, on energy conservation and safety

- And much more!  


All are welcome!  See flyer for details.  




Rachel White


 "Keith Stern", "Hallie Pinta", "Paul Holt"

Green Highlights 2007-2009


Hosted an annual Green Fair & Trade Show  (08 & 09).  The 09 Fair featured 30+ vendors of green products and services and attracted 300+ visitors.

Introduced environmental education programming into our Religious School, including our Brit Adamah Project(Covenant with the Earth).

Switched to organic, fair-trade, shade grown coffee roasted by Pierce Brothers of Western, MA.

Implemented No-Idling Policy.

Reduced paper use by 30%.

Expanded the Temple’s recycling program to include glass, plastic and metal.

Audited the Temple’s use of energy for heating & cooling and implemented measures to increase efficiency and conservation.

Switched to recycled-content paper products and to non-toxic cleaning products.

vInstalled a smart irrigation system.



2010-2011 Co-Chairs: Hallie Pinta and Paul Holt





 Sarah of Temple Emanuel, Newton for sharing the following ideas:

  • Installed new HVAC system, Metasys, computer controlled; operates according to outside temperature.
  • Replaced 90 watt spots and ballasts in common areas with 75 watt spots and new ballasts.
  • Put certain lighting areas, such as the outside, on automatic timers.
  • Replacing old hot water heaters with individual hot water units for each kitchen and bathroom.
  • Purchased seven refurbished office stations for Main Office.
  • Placed recycle bins for paper, co-mingled, and trash in every room, as well as signage on their use. Orientation to their use was done with custodial staff and with all groups within the synagogue. Purchased new custodial cart designed to handle different waste streams.
  • Lobbying the City of Newton to pick up recyclables from area non-profits and to change waste vendor contract to that effect. Temple Emanuel is now part of the city's pilot program to pick up paper recyclables from area non-profits - done on a weekly basis.
  • Contracted with Save That Stuff for co-mingled recyclables on a monthly basis.
  • Reaching out to area non-profits to engage them in greening and in lobbying for city recycle pick-up.
  • Moved from plastic cups to paper. Convinced morning Minyan to use renewable metal cutlery instead of plastic at their daily breakfasts.
  • Purchased non-toxic cleaning products.
  • Requested that religious school curriculum include environmental material - Jewish texts that promote environmental stewardship.
  • Presenting green options for Bar and Bat Mitzvah "mitzvah" projects.
  • Provided our first "green-as-we-can" kiddush with sustainably grown/low spray kosher wine, free trade organic coffee and tea, and organic milk - recycle bins prominently in place.
  • Held a Green Shabbat at the congregation, with a short speech from our Ecology Committee and information tables during kiddush.

Temple Kol Tikvah, Sharon


Sorry for the delay.  the attached outlines all that we are doing to be GREEN, thanks to our students.

Randy O 






In the past year, we have:


·         replaced our light bulbs with energy efficient ones

·         done away with individual bottled water

·         replaced and old refrigerator with a more energy-efficient one

·         continue to recyle paper




Marlene Arnold

Executive Director

Temple Sinai of Sharon

25 Canton Street

Sharon MA 02067





Everything is vegetarian and we avoid throwaway dishes and utensils. We make every effort to carpool, and we always recycle everything possible. We also use as little paper as possible. And we avoid heating costs by being outside.



 Wellesly-Weston Chabad, Wellesly


In short, we have:

◊Replaced incandescent lights with fluorescents or LEDs


◊Added a recycling program


◊Created an environmental committee


◊Had an energy audit


◊Purchased new EnergyStar-rated appliances


◊Replaced disposable dishes and silverware with reusable ones (except when we have too many people to use dishes etc)


Moshe Bleich 



Hi,this is Steve Ellis VP of Admin @ Temple Beth David of Westwood we have just completed a project replacing many of our electrical fixtures to more efficient LED. Work was handled by Prism out of Quincy and Joe Younis electric of Westwood. NSTAR picked up 70% of retrofit. 

Best, Steven.
 Latest here – we are replacing dozens of our lights with more energy efficient fixtures through a program with NStar.


Rabbi Wildstein


 Hillel B'Nai Torah, West Roxbury


Thanks for reaching out to HBT.

When we signed this pledge--which I believe was about seven or eight years ago--we switched our light bulbs to cfls.
We have also renovated one wing of the building and improved insulation.

Our major initiative was to start a Farmer's Market last year in our parking lot every Sunday from June through October. We also offered a CSA. For the coming summer, the market has expanded and we are offering 4 CSA choices:  two fruit and vegetable CSAs, one meat CSA and one fish CSA. This is the first Farmer's Market in West Roxbury and has gotten support from West Roxbury Main Streets, the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association and local churches.

In another victory, this year, we approached the City of Boston to pick up our recycling on a regular basis, despite a policy against serving non-profits. 
The DPW has agreed to help us (though not to change the policy) and supplied us with a city recycling bin. We are working to educate our community and make recycling more visible in the building.

These are the initiatives that I'm aware of. Others may have something more to add.

This is an essential project and we appreciate your leadership.

Rabbi Barbara Penzner