A new plan aims to make the Knesset building one of the most environmentally-friendly parliament structures in the world.
The recently unveiled Green Knesset program will fit the legislative building with solar panels, water-saving measures, an efficient heating and cooling system and LED lights.
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein and Knesset director-general Ronen Plott have developed the multi-phase project to turn the structure into a showcase for Israeli green innovation as well as save money by reducing energy costs.
Among the plans, a water re-use program, including desalinating water used in the air conditioning system, will cut back on water consumption, and an energy-saving heating and cooling plan will be implemented.
The most visible change will be the 4,650 square meters worth of solar panels, the largest solar roof on a parliament building in the world, which will adorn the building and provide 510,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity.
According to Samuel Chayen, spokesman for the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, the Green Knesset program will save approximately NIS 1.5 million and earn back the initial NIS 7 million in costs in approximately five years.
Naor Yerushalmi, head of Life and Environment, called the Green Knesset announcement “a historic event.” He added, “The Knesset is a highlight of democracy and of civil life, and when the Knesset is going green, the country is going green.”
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz echoed Yerushalmi’s sentiment, noting that the Green Knesset program marked a rare occasion of agreement between Israel’s political parties. “Finally, the Knesset presents a ‘green line’ that is a consensus and proves again that the environment is a subject without borders and parties,” he said.
In the spirit of cooperation, two members of Parliament, Dov Henin and Zvulun Kalfa, who often find themselves far apart on issues, will work together to lead the program.
Kalfa pointed out that even though he is at odds with leftists, it does not mean opposing sides cannot work together and be friends.
“We look for many roots in the components of environmental protection – real environmental protection begins in Jewish roots,” he said.