Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauds U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) for reintroducing the bipartisan Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, H.R. 3120, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill, spearheaded by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center and a coalition of nonprofit groups, will establish a new pilot program that provides federal grants through the U.S. Department of Energy so that houses of worship, day schools and other nonprofits ranging from community centers to museums and hospitals can improve their buildings’ energy efficiency.
The legislation would provide $10 million each year for the next five years for nonprofits to purchase equipment to upgrade existing infrastructure as well as renewable energy generators and heaters. The upgrades will reduce operating costs, decrease environmental impact and create jobs. Nonprofits would be eligible to apply for grants of up to $200,000 each.
According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study, non-residential buildings in the U.S. consume more than $200 billion in energy; the country’s approximately 370,000 houses of worship collectively spend more than $3 billion on energy annually. The agency estimates that by making energy efficiency improvements, houses of worship could cut their energy costs by a third, enabling them to dedicate an additional $1 billion for programs and services.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) reintroduced the Senate version of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, S. 520, in February.
Said Sen. Klobuchar:
“Energy efficiency upgrades save money and resources that can be used to support the mission of nonprofits. Our bipartisan legislation would help ensure that nonprofit organizations, including places of worship, no longer have to choose between providing important community services and investing in energy efficiency improvements that both save money and provide environmental benefits.”
Said Sen. Hoeven:
“With their focus on helping individuals and their communities, non-profits and faith-based organizations often don’t have the necessary capital to make their facilities more energy efficient. Our legislation would help these organizations cut down on energy usage and operating costs, furthering their work to provide important services and resources to their communities.”
Said Rep. Cartwright:
“This bipartisan bill will allow nonprofits to devote more resources to serving their communities, while making energy efficiency upgrades in their buildings. Nonprofits are often unable to afford the upfront investment costs of improving energy efficiency. Consuming less energy will allow these groups to save money in an environment-friendly way.”
Said Rep. Fitzpatrick:
“Nonprofit organizations support our communities in innumerable ways with limited means, and often are not able to devote resources to improve their energy efficiency. As we work to reduce our carbon footprint, this legislation will help nonprofit organizations improve energy efficiency in their facilities.”
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“Thousands of America’s churches and synagogues and other nonprofits have needed to upgrade their buildings for many years, but haven’t had the funds to do so.
“This legislation is a win-win because it will enable houses of worship, schools and other nonprofits to allocate more of their resources to programs that help their communities while at the same time becoming more energy efficient.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act would provide a tremendous boost both for the faith community and the nonprofit sector. We are grateful to U.S. Reps. Cartwright and Fitzpatrick for re-introducing this important legislation in the House and look forward to its swift passage by Congress.”