Designs for new technologies to green homes, or even building new ‘eco-friendly’ neighbourhoods from scratch like in Kfar Saba (Green Building or Greenwashing?), are coming in thick-and-fast in Israel. But what about the millions of people living in buildings that have been standing for decades?
One man who has come up with the answer is Gil Peled, an Israeli architect and green building consultant, who has rallied the neighbours residents in his Jerusalem apartment building to the cause. Since 2002, the Eco-Housing Pilot Project has succeeded in reducing energy use, waste and water consumption by over 30%. “When I began, not many people knew what I was talking about,” Peled told Green Prophet. “We all went through the process of becoming green together.”
In inheriting a 50 year-old building he says that the greatest asset has not been new technologies (although they swear by energy-efficient light bulbs), but good old-fashioned motivation. “Motivation is the most resource-saving device. If you have energy-efficient light bulbs but leave them on all day, then you’re not saving anything,” argues Peled.
For now, the location of the building is a secret (it can’t even be found on Jerusalem’s (Green Map) as the residents prefer that it remains a secret. It is their home after all. (However, Green Prophet can reveal that it’s walking distance from the Prime Minister’s official residence.)
Six years after its inception, the project is still the only one of its kind in Israel and Peled is currently searching for funds in order to spread the project to more homes. We say: What are you waiting for Mr Olmert?
Photo: Michael Green.