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Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Welcomes Senate’s Inclusion of Pioneering Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act in Federal Infrastructure Package

Posted on August 2, 2021 In Press Releases

OU Advocacy Center Helped Craft Bipartisan, Groundbreaking Initiative that Creates $50 Million Pilot Program to Make Synagogues, Day Schools, Other Nonprofits More Energy Efficient

[Update: The U.S. Senate passed this legislation by a 69-30 vote  on Aug. 10, 2021]

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed the Senate’s inclusion – within the $1 trillion infrastructure deal – of landmark bipartisan legislation that creates a pilot program to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency for houses of worship, religious day schools and other nonprofits nationwide.

The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (see page 1,729, section 40542 in bill text here) was first spearheaded by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, the nonpartisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, along with a coalition of nonprofit groups more than a decade ago. The $50 million pilot program, to be administered by the Department of Energy, will provide grants of up to $200,000 apiece to upgrade existing infrastructure and purchase items such as 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.

Orthodox Union Advocacy Center Executive Director Nathan Diament, who has testified before Congress on the need for the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, stated:
“The OU Advocacy Center has been pressing for passage of this landmark initiative for more than a decade and we are immensely appreciative to the Senate for including it in the larger infrastructure package. Our nation’s synagogues, churches, day schools and many other nonprofits have badly needed to update their energy infrastructure but haven’t had the funds to do so. This legislation provides a long-awaited boost to the faith community and nonprofit sector alike by enabling them to allocate greater funding to programs and services and less to energy bills, ultimately decreasing their energy footprints.”

Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane stated:
“We express particular thanks to Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) for re-introducing the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act this year and for their dedication to moving it forward. In addition to helping America’s nonprofits improve their bottom lines and benefiting the environment, this legislation will also support thousands of jobs for workers who will manufacture and install the energy efficiency building improvements.”