The Energy Star Program — which awards small businesses and congregations for maximizing energy efficiency — first recognized Mishkan back in 2004.
That wasn't long after the congregation, founded in 1988, had moved into its first permanent home, and converted a 27,000-square-foot, 140-year-old mill building into a usable synagogue.
Dr. Daniel Wolk, who chairs the synagogue's Green Committee, said that the congregation had hoped to cut its costs and live out its own eco-conscious ethos.
After receiving a $250,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Sustainable Development Fund, Mishkan made a number of changes to the building, including adding double-paned, "low-emissivity" windows, plus four inches of insulation.
According to the EPA's citation, Mishkan was able to save $5,700 dollars annually in energy costs — their yearly bill runs about $35,000 — as well as prevent 47,500 pounds of annual carbon-dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Energy Star's e-newsletter often provides updates of previous award winners.
For example, the June edition mentioned the installation of a solar-powered ner tamid — its "eternal light" — at Mishkan, in addition to the congregation's plans to switch to a more cost-efficient air-conditioning system.
"We're always trying to lesson our impact on the planet," affirmed Wolk. "Scientists have been warning the public about the greenhouse effect and global warming for 30 years."