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Israel's Knesset aims to be greenest in the world


Jan 1, 2014 - Jonathan Lis -

Unprecedented 2 million dollar plan to minimize compound's ecological footprint includes a solar panel field to generate its own electricity; expected to save an average of $430,000 per year.
The center-left could take control over the Knesset, if it tries. Photo by Eli Tamsa

Over the next two years, Israel’s Knesset compound will undergo a series of renovations, aimed at transforming it into a “green parliament.” With an unprecedented price tag of 7 million shekels ($2 million), 13 different water and electricity saving systems will be constructed for the Knesset, headlined by a solar battery that will cover 4,500 square meters on the facility’s roof.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday that “this is not a small financial investment, but it will bear fruit, and pay for itself in time. As a body that legislates environmental policy, the Knesset cannot simply pay lip service to its mandate.

The measures are expected to save an average of 1.5 million shekels ($430,000) per year. All of the projects approved have been deemed financially worthwhile. In addition to the solar power battery, hundreds of light bulbs will be replaced with more environmentally friendly LED bulbs.

The air conditioning system will be replaced, and the water it churns out will be used for gardening. A new mechanism will be implemented that shuts down all of the computers in the Knesset facility at the end of the work day as well. The savings generated by these measures will be earmarked for a new “green fund,” which will be used to maintain and advance the program.

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz said that “while my office leads an environmental revolution in industry and private homes, the national symbol must also become a leader in this green revolution, as the duty of the Knesset is to protect future generations, and protecting the environment is a part of that.”

Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom said that the “green Knesset will be another source of pride for Israel, and inspiration for other states. It is a welcome step, and of great importance. Encouraging energy efficiency, saving electricity and using natural gas as well as other innovate energy sources will be good for reducing pollution, protecting the environment, and saving money. The principles and goals of the project are well aligned with the values of the Energy and Water Resources Ministry.”