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The mission of the BIC Green Team is to promote the development of ecologically sustainable practices within our synagogue community. Our intent is to use the best scientifically verified information and practices, to consider the needs of the Beth Israel Congregation, and to be informed by our rich Jewish history and tradition.


A Green Community
Our approach on the Green Team is multifaceted. With support from Adamah Detroit (formerly Hazon), we are contributing to holistic city- and county-wide climate action goals articulated through the Ann Arbor A2Zero Initiative & Ann Arbor 2030 District/Houses of Worship subgroup, and through the Resilient Washtenaw Climate Action Plan. As we take action on the issues described below, we encourage members to join our efforts moving forward.


We are a member of Adamah (formerly Hazon) and work closely with the regional hub of this organization, Adamah Detroit. “Adamah Detroit provides unique and critical resources, coaching, support, partnership, and programming to over 40 local Jewish organizations working to integrate environmental values into Jewish life and cultivating the next generation of Jewish environmental leaders.” We are a Seal of Sustainability Organization, which is a program of Detroit Adamah designed to support Jewish organizations and communities working to create a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable world for all by linking Jewish values to substantive action toward sustainability and climate-friendly goals. BIC has agreed to take action on 2-3 projects focused on greening initiatives or sustainability in each 12-month period. Sustainability grants from Adamah/Hazon have helped fund an energy audit and five action items including motion sensors for the bathrooms and some LED bulb replacements. In 2023-2024 we plan to complete the LED project and replace each and every bulb in the 2000 and 2010 buildings. We are one of the founding members of Adamah’s Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition (JCLC), a network of Jewish community organizations that recognize the existential threat and moral urgency of climate change and commit to take action. Membership gives us access to grants that have the potential to fund at least some of our energy conservation measures. By the end of 2023, the JCLC will replace the Seal of Sustainability in Adamah Detroit. It has already done so at the national level. 

The Green Team recently completed our 2022 Adamah Seal of Sustainability Demonstration Project, which includes bathroom occupancy sensors and some LED lighting at 2000 Washtenaw. It is expected that this small effort will save our congregation up to $350/year. For our 2023 project we used a $2,000 grant to further our goal of complete transfer to LED lighting at BIC. The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency will power 40% of net zero climate goals. We also know that it is imperative to strive towards 100% clean energy as soon as possible, which is why BIC is pursuing a broader decarbonization plan for its facilities through a contract with Inclination Engineering, which is helping us to develop a whole-system decarbonization and energy efficiency plan for our facilities. As of December 2023, this plan has been finalized and is under review by the BIC building committee and board.  While changes to our buildings alone are not enough, we feel that we are helping to seed the cultural change needed for behavioral, economic, and technological transformation of our community. One outcome is that energy efficiency upgrades become more accessible to our neighbors-,supporting community-wide climate action goals.

In summary, as we continue to transform the systems that have enabled climate change, together with our neighbors, we will see the fruits of our labor in a safer, more resilient community, and, along the way, we will see cost savings from our more energy efficient infrastructure. 


Ann Arbor 2030 District 
In 2021, BIC joined the Ann Arbor 2030 District and an affiliated subgroup of Ann Arbor houses of worship (HoW). The goal of these organizations is to improve energy efficiency and environmentally friendly practices across commercial buildings and HoW. The District contributed $2,500 toward an ASHRAE Level II energy audit that was performed in 2022. They will contribute $3,000 toward our whole-system engineering design that is currently underway. (See “Energy Audit and Follow Up” below.) 


Ann Arbor Jewish Community for Climate Change
In 2023 we joined with other Ann Arbor Jewish Community organizations to create an infrastructure to provide leadership and to help direct Jewish community efforts to respond to the crisis of climate change.  Under the auspices of the Jewish Community Relationship Council (JCRC) a mission statement has been created, and on the last day of Chanukah, was sent out to all Washtenaw Jewish community organizations for their sponsorship.  Michael Simon is representing the BIC Green Team on this effort.  We hope to coalesce our efforts in the Jewish Community and to serve as a model for Ann Arbor and other Jewish Communities around the country.


Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ)
Under the auspices of the ICPJ, the BIC Green Team has joined several other houses of worship with the goal of coalescing religious organizations into a group that promotes efforts to ameliorate the impact of climate change.  At this time we have agreed to meet quarterly and to provide information on useful projects that work in each congregation as well as to provide access to educational resources for all groups involved.   Michael Simon is helping to coordinate this group.

Thu, May 23 2024 15 Iyyar 5784