Israel’s strong and established communities are consuming roughly twice as much
energy as are their weaker counterparts, a study released by the Environmental
Protection Ministry on Tuesday said.
The study is the preliminary result
of the “Environmental Tag” project of the Center for Local Government and the
Environmental Protection Ministry, which studied public spending in various
sectors of 60 local authorities for the past two years. By evaluating the
spending, the project aims to increase efficiency in the public consumption of
natural resources like power and water as well as reduce waste generation and
increase awareness about recycling. One of the main conclusions of the study was
that with higher socioeconomic status comes higher public power consumption, the
Environment Ministry reported.
The average power consumption measured in
the study was approximately 211 kilowatthours per resident per year. In
disadvantaged communities, however, that number fell to about 118 kilowatt-hours
per resident per year, while in more affluent communities it grew to 262
kilowatt-hours per resident per year, the study found.
The study showed
that more than half of the power consumption was traced to outdoor lighting,
while educational institutions were using just one-third of public power supply.
In the stronger local authorities, the public spaces were bigger and public
outdoor lighting was more developed. However, the stronger cities did in general
demonstrate more efficient and economical use of electricity in their schools
and office buildings, despite less crowded classrooms and larger offices, the
In the water sector, the study showed that about half
of public water consumption occurs for the benefit of landscaping, and only
about one-quarter is used for public institutions.
As far as waste
management goes, between 4 and 8 percent of city budgets were being used for
handling garbage, and the average amount of trash recycled rested at about
The local authorities that participated in the project have received
support and training, including professional courses, the Environmental
Protection Ministry said. The administrators intend to add more local
authorities to the assessments in the future and launch a public relations
campaign that will influence electricity consumption levels.
electricity, water and waste are a tremendous portion of the expenditures of an
authority, and through fairly simple measures it is possible to reduce them and
allocate more money to education or lowering property taxes,” said Environmental
Protection Minister Amir Peretz. “An authority that functions in a green way is
also an authority that functions cost effectively, and residents know that their
municipal tax dollars are not being wasted on lighting in buildings that do not
house a soul. Here [one can see] the unbreakable connection between social
justice and environmental justice that I have championed for decades.”