Congregation Sinai's Green Initiatives
When Congregation Sinai's new facilities were being redesigned, an emphasis on the environment was built into the blueprints:
- the parking lot pavement was designed to be porous to reduce storm runoff
- the HVAC system was split into two for better climate control
- the roofs were built at an 18-degree pitch for future use as surfaces for solar PV panelling.
The pervious concrete parking lot was a Design Award winner for the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Program.
More recently, Sinai Won an Energy Oscar for being a Green Building from California Interfaith Power and Light.
Sinai Goes Solar
In 2007 the B'nei Mitzvah Class of 5768 brainstormed ideas for a class Tikkun Olam project. They came up with the idea of getting solar PV panels for the synagogue's roof. It would take reduce the shul's carbon footprint and its utility bill. The class did some research, and presented their plan to the Board of Directors. They determined how much it would cost to get panels installed, and compared it with the long-term savings. They had planned on raising some of the money that would be required to get the project going.
Then the adults took over and formed a committee, which of course slowed down the project quite a bit. There were many options to solar panel installation, including reduced and no-cost installations that would eliminate the need to raise money, but would result in less saving on a monthly basis. There were quite a few companies that started to appear which had a solution "just right" for us. After multiple presentations, spreadsheets and changes in the committee, an agreement was finally reached with Solar City, which installs and finances solar projects throughout the region. Installation began in late August of 2011, and went "live" in November of that year.