OK, you've bentshed! Now what?

You can be an agent of change; to responsibly, over time, radically reduce the carbon footprint.

Over a seven-year period, JCAN’s goal is to lead Jewish institutions to achieve radical, deep energy savings, and to inspire the entire Jewish community to do similarly in homes and businesses.

After benchmarking, the critical next step for any institution is to devise a detailed plan to appropriately achieve deep energy reductions, in stages, over the next few years. Such a plan will entail technical auditing, financial assessment, and, most of all, congregational organizing.

JCAN is developing resources and guidance for congregations and institutions. Every group of people, every physical plant, every financial situation will pose a different set of issues. And JCAN looks forward to the interchange of ideas as we go forward.

But together, in the spirit of כלל ישראל (Klal Yisrael, a community of Jews working together) and remembering the sanctity of all creation, we can achieve the deep reductions in energy usage critical to the future, for ourselves, and our children.

It is not beyond us. We can do it, and we must do it.

Portfolio Manager program

When you are ready to "get serious," JCAN recommends enrolling your facility in the Energy Star "Portfolio Manager" (PM) program run by the U.S. Environmenal Protection Agency. It is excellent, free, and used widely by many different building types across the country.

A big advantage of Portfolio Manager is that you can use it to manage carbon reductions. As you make changes in your building, you will readily see the results. Portfolio Manager requires much of the same data that you used for the MIP&L benchmarking spreadsheet, so you need only a bit more effort to get started. After the initial setup, enter data as you will -- perhaps when each utility bill is received, or monthly, or quarterly.

Whose job is this? It can be a volunteer or a committee, but the tool is valuable only when it continues to be used over time.

Many helpful guides and tutorials can help you use Portfolio Manager.

Another tool is EPA’s "Energy Star Congregation" goal. Any congregation can aim to achieve this level of efficiency. For recognition, you must at least be enrolled in Portfolio Manager. Upon setup in PM, you are given a score which compares your congregation to all others in the program. You become an "Energy Star Congregation" if and when you earn a score of 75 or higher, indicating that your facility performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide.

This recognition level has been achieved by only 50 congregations nationally as of Aug 2015. Only three of them were Jewish, and these were not in Massachusetts.

JCAN would like to see this change over the next few years!

Energy Star provides other resources directed particularly at congregations: the 2014 Feb. EPA ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations and Appendices.