From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[AJC] AJC is Going Green

From "Ari Gordon" <>
Date Tue, 13 Feb 2007 16:26:22 -0500

AJC Going Green

American Jewish Committee is determined to become one of the first Jewish non-profits in the country with green certification for its national headquarters, and is already engaged in an ongoing process for compliance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating Systems?. This set of voluntary standards, administered by the U. S. Green Building Council, is used in the design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally sound buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their building's performance.

Five key areas of human and environmental health are touched on by the LEED performance standards: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. To earn certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance benchmarks, and perform above and beyond those requirements, to earn credits within each category.

For the purposes of LEED certification, AJC's headquarters, which has been exclusively owned and operated by AJC since 1956, is classified as an existing building. The LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) rating system requires that buildings maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. This system provides AJC with effective benchmarks for measuring upgrades, improvements and maintenance over the life of a building.

AJC has already instituted the following green programs:

* A bold recycling program that reduces the building's waste stream by diverting recyclable items away from landfills. Some of AJC's more ambitious recycling efforts include:     > the proper removal and disposal of fluorescent lamps, ballasts and e-waste (office equipment including computers, printers, and fax machines).     > the recycling of  more than half of the construction waste that is produced in office renovations and building maintenance and upgrades.

* A lighting reduction program that eliminates unnecessary fixtures, improves the efficiency of existing lighting, and encourages staff to turn off lights when they are not in their offices.

* A green cleaning policy that has replaced traditional cleaning methods with less toxic and more eco-friendly alternatives. This program shows a serious concern for staff and tenants.

* A Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Bonus Program which provides cash incentives to full-time AJC employees to purchase new hybrid cars. The program is believed to be the first offer of its kind to employees of any non-profit organization in the United States. The program is available to employees working in any AJC office across the U.S.   AJC plans to engage in these other impressive green programs as the process continues:

* Buying renewable electricity: AJC aims to purchase enough Renewable Energy Credits (REC) to cover 100 percent of the electricity used at AJC headquarters in New York. These credits are purchased from the suppliers of renewable electricity - wind farms, solar farms, biomass generation facilities - and encourages them to continue providing and developing new sources of green power in a marketplace traditionally weighted towards fossil fuels. These credits impart a green value to electricity supply and are a practical step, and powerful statement, towards promoting a decreased dependence on foreign sources of power.

* A major mechanical systems upgrade which will reduce energy usage by up to 35 percent. By modernizing the way AJC cools the building, a huge impact on our energy profile can be achieved.

* A new green purchasing policy that optimizes the amount of recycled or materials made from rapidly renewable, reclaimed, or otherwise low impact resources for use in the building. This program will significantly reduce the environmental impact of the materials used in the day-to-day operations of AJC's headquarters. .

For more information about AJC's Green Project, please contact Benjamin Tressler, AJC's Green Building Project Manager, at

Ari M. Gordon Assistant Director Department of Interreligious Affairs American Jewish Committee 165 E56th St. New York, NY 10022 (212) 891-6768 (212) 751-4000 x266

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