OU Welcomes Senate Introduction of Legislation to Support Energy Efficiency of Nonprofit Buildings

12 Sep 2012


Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization representing nearly 1,000 synagogues across North America – applauded United States Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N. Dakota) for their introduction of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act.

The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will create a pilot program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide financial support to America’s non-profit organizations to make their buildings more energy efficient. If enacted and appropriated, grants of up to $200,000 (with a 50 percent match) will be available to enable schools, youth centers, houses of worship, hospitals and other nonprofit facilities to undertake energy efficiency improvements such as replacing inefficient heating/air-conditioning systems, doors and windows, water and sewage systems and more.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2009 alone, the roughly 125,000 public and non-public K-12 schools in the United States spent $12 billion on energy; the more than 370,000 houses of worship in the United States spent billions of dollars as well. Yet, schools and houses of worship – as well as other nonprofits – often lack the necessary funds to invest in upgrading their energy systems due to the high “up front” costs to doing so.

For these reasons, the Orthodox Union spearheaded assembling a coalition and working with congressional allies to develop the framework for a public-private partnership to support energy efficiency in America’s nonprofit sector. Such an initiative passed the House of Representatives in 2010 as part of larger energy legislation.

Now – with the leadership of Senators Hoeven and Klobuchar — the pilot program in the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will offer a new opportunity to accelerate energy savings in the nonprofit sector.

Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy for the Orthodox Union, stated:

“We applaud Senators Klobuchar and Hoeven for their leadership and introduction of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act. If passed, it will do more than help charities and other nonprofits increase their energy efficiency and thereby save money they can better spend on their good works. Because of the inspirational role nonprofits play in American society it will lead to the members and volunteers of these nonprofits making their homes and businesses more energy efficient. The Act will have a ripple effect that is good for America across the board – it will create jobs, increase energy efficiency and thus reduce our dependence on foreign oil as well as our harm to the environment. The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act program is thus a “win win” for all concerned. We look forward to working with Senators Hoeven and Klobuchar to get the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act enacted into law.”

For further information on bringing this program to your community, contact 212-613-8351.