Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauds Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) for reintroducing the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act.
The bipartisan 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 to help nonprofits – from religious schools and houses of worship to community centers, museums and hospitals – make improvements to improve their buildings’ energy efficiency.
The legislation would provide $10 million each year for the next five years for nonprofits to purchase materials 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 could apply for grants 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 allocate an additional $1 billion for programs and services.
Said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union:
“Congress should pass the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act so that synagogues, churches and other houses of worship and nonprofits can spend more of their resources on programs that aid people, while at the same time helping our environment. The Orthodox Union is deeply appreciative of the persistent work by Sens. Klobuchar and Hoeven for leading this legislation.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark Bane:
“This bipartisan bill demonstrates the Orthodox Union’s persistent efforts to creatively support our community’s institutions. Bringing down energy costs will help our synagogues and schools and will also help the environment at large.”