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Climate Working Group

The Beth El Climate Working Group began meeting last winter.  We are working on various projects to make the congregation more sustainable and promote greenhouse gas reductions.  Some of our efforts are below.  

  • Zero-Waste Seder – We used Veteran Compost DC to manage all food scraps and other compostable waste from the event and compost it at their facility in Alexandria. Additionally, we used Beth El's dishes instead of disposable paper products. All disposable glass  was recycled.  We are actively exploring avenues to compost all food scraps, yard waste, paper products, etc., to transition Beth El into a zero-waste facility in the near future.
  • Green Energy – The group is exploring the costs and benefits of installing solar panels or a geothermal system to power Beth El’s building and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.  We are researching different approaches and financing models, including coordinating a federal grant application to cover up to $189,000 of project costs. (If we receive that grant, one condition is that any energy cost savings from the project go to support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) efforts.)  This would be a major project for the synagogue with long-lasting impacts.  We would welcome congregational input to evaluate our options.
  • We asked Dominion Power for a free building audit to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency.  We hope to get their results soon. Note that Dominion also offers free energy audits to homeowners:
  • The synagogue recently used Dominion Energy Grants to offset the costs of replacing the lighting in the lobby, hallway to sanctuary, and tops of the exterior posts, with LED lighting. 
  • We are looking into educational and outreach efforts to promote sustainability among the congregation, religious school, etc.
  • We are involved with the group Faith Action for Climate Solutions and obtaining information on what other religious organizations are doing.

This group is just starting out.  We would greatly appreciate more involvement and input from the congregation.  We need you to help decide how Beth El will become sustainable!  Please contact Sarah Kline ( to share your thoughts, get on our mailing list and receive invitations to our monthly meetings.

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784