Reform Judaism magazine - World's Largest Circulated Jewish Magazine 1st Place Award Winner for Excellence in Jewish Journalism and a Benefit of Membership in a Union Congregation

Helpline: Facility Efficiency

Q: Plans to remodel our facility have been put on hold. How can we stay in our outdated building and still save money?

A: Take a close look at your greatest facility expenditures. Review the peak times for heating and cooling, water usage, staffing events and programs, and having maintenance and security personnel on-site; and then rethink how the building is being used. Are your sanctuary, multipurpose areas, and classrooms dormant on certain days and times? Consider adjusting room temperatures when areas are not in use. Also, many congregations designate certain nights for all committee meetings, allowing for “blackout” nights when the building is not in use.

Modest investments pay for themselves over time. Install low-flush devices and water-control sink valves with automatic shutoffs or sensors in restrooms; you’re likely to realize savings within a year or two. Replace used bulbs with compact fluorescent lights.

Also, don’t skimp on scheduled routine maintenance. Paying attention to small problems now will avoid costly ones later on. Always identify and rectify the source of leaks to avoid major water damage, one of the leading causes of building deterioration.

And be sure to access URJ facilities resources and "greening" ideas. If you'd like more information, or to follow up with a specific question, please call the URJ Knowledge Network at 855-URJ-1800 or email


Union for Reform Judaism.