A Deeper Focus


Local Media Coverage of Congregation Beth David Reflects Common Cost Misperceptions

Congratulations to Congregation Beth David for raising the money to avoid foreclosure. A recent newspaper article implied the synagogue was an expensive endeavor because it is a “luxuriant green building.” The article reflects common misperceptions about green building.

This “green” synagogue, as was announced in our first issue, is the site for one of this year’s field trips. Led by the building’s architects Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper and construction manager Richard Beller, the tour is scheduled for Friday October 14. The building is reportedly the only LEED-certified synagogue in the world and is featured on the cover of Passive Solar Architecture: Heating, Cooling, Ventilation, and Daylighting Using Natural Flows.

The recent article suggested the building is luxurious and expensive. It seems, though, that the enjoyable ambiance is due more to spaciousness and natural light. Rather than “expensive” materials, stucco and composition shingle roofing were used. Further more, the construction cost of the 16,190 square foot synagogue is statistically well below the average cost in 2006 for a similar building.

Assuming green buildings cost more is a common misconception. In the case of CBD, large savings were accomplished by not needing mechanical equipment. In fact, actual energy cost savings were 82 percent in CBD’s first year of operation, compared to a building of similar size and use. The discussion surrounding cost makes the field trip even more valuable. Come see the building, listen to the architectural and construction team, and pose questions about design, construction, and cost.

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