Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed the re-introduction of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). The bipartisan legislation would reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency for houses of worship, religious day schools and other nonprofits ranging from community centers to museums and hospitals.
The bill, spearheaded by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and a coalition of nonprofit groups, will establish a new pilot program at the Department of Energy that would provide $10 million each year for the next five years for nonprofits to upgrade existing infrastructure and purchase renewable energy generators and heaters.
Nonprofits across the country spend $200 billion annually on energy costs – about 5 to 7 percent of their yearly budgets – due to aging, antiquated infrastructure; the pilot program will provide grants of up to $200,000 apiece to reduce such costs, decrease environmental impact and create jobs. The bill has been referred for consideration to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“America’s synagogues, churches and other nonprofits need and want to decrease their energy consumption by modernizing their outdated infrastructure, but most don’t have the resources to do so. The bipartisan Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will provide this much-needed assistance to decrease their energy footprints while at the same time enabling them to allocate greater funding for programs and services. Funding these projects will also support thousands of jobs for those workers who will manufacture and install the energy efficiency building improvements.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“We are grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Hoeven for re-introducing this important legislation in the Senate. We urge that it be passed soon so that the program’s benefits can be realized soon – by America’s nonprofits in their bottom lines, in the betterment of the environment and by the thousands of workers who will be supported by the grant program.”