Torah Institute of Baltimore is implementing plans to both save money and protect the environment.
The school recently completed a comprehensive lighting component upgrade that has resulted in a $2,350 monthly savings, it announced last month. Funding came from leveraging Baltimore Gas and Electric utility rebates with its partnership with The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Green Loan Fund and its Sustainability Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Projects for Schools funded through AVI CHAI.
“We are very proud to be a model of energy conservation for schools,” said Yaakov Goldstein, executive vice president of Torah Institute. “This project is consistent with the efforts of our finance office to eliminate waste in all forms — in time, in spending, and now we can include energy as well. It not only fulfills the mitzvah of baal tashchis [broadly applied to the prohibition of all forms of waste], but also results in significant annual savings to the school.”
Until now, nearly half of the school’s electric bill was spent on lighting. To improve the situation, 850 light fixtures were re-lamped and re-ballasted. New components use 55 percent less energy to operate and produce more light than the original bulbs. The project cost $45,000 but was completely covered by a BGE rebate program. The initial cost of the project was covered by an interest-free loan provided by the Green Loan Fund.
In addition to approximately $28,000 per year in savings, the bulbs reportedly last more than 10 times the life of the existing bulbs, resulting in additional savings of cost and labor associated with changing light bulbs every summer over the next 12 years.
Finally, the school earned $1,500 in scrap-metal sales from the old fixtures. The old bulbs that were only a few months old were donated to local nonprofit organizations.
“On top of the significant cost savings associated with this project, the school is able to impart a series of valuable lessons to its student body,” said Yehuda Neuberger, co-chair of The Associated’s Day School Task Force. “Not only is conservation a Torah value, such a project models responsibility and inculcates an appreciation of the need for careful allocation of funds by communally supported institutions. I applaud Torah Institute for exercising leadership and finding creative opportunities to further some of the more indirect elements of its educational mission.”