Allegheny College Student's Senior Project Helps Temple Anshe Hesed Become Carbon Neutral - Considered First in Nation
Temple Anshe Hesed neutralized its carbon footprint -- the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions for which it is responsible -- by collaborating in a carbon-offset program with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, located in the desert of southern
A carbon-offset program allows an organization to reduce its carbon footprint by paying for technology to meet another organization's energy needs without creating carbon emissions. Temple Anshe Hesed purchased solar panels that the Arava Institute will install to generate electricity for its campus.
Because of its remote location, the institute currently must purchase electricity produced from fossil fuels at a facility 150 miles away, with an estimated 15 percent of that power lost during transmission.
"Through its efforts to become the first carbon-neutral synagogue in
Temple Anshe Hesed already had taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint by installing energy-efficient light bulbs and retrofitting parts of the synagogue's heating and cooling system. But, prompted by the ethic of environmental stewardship permeating the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish literature, the temple's members sought to do more.
"We want to be an example for other congregations in colder or warmer climates who have older buildings which may not be easily adapted to more eco-friendly energy footprints," said Temple Anshe Hesed rabbi
The synagogue enlisted
She then calculated the cost for the synagogue to offset its emissions and developed a series of recommendations for them to fund solar panels at the Arava Institute. Fortier's senior project culminated with an event for the congregation held on Tu B'Shvat, known as "the Jewish
"The congregation was very welcoming on every level," said Fortier, who studied at the Arava Institute in summer 2007 and graduated from
Fortier's senior project built on existing ties between
"We have a strong relationship with both the Anshe Hesed congregation and
A national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel.
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