A new ‘volunteer’ at a southern kibbutz is the sun!

דודי שמש חדשים בקיבוץ משאבי שדה. צילום - רוני סגולי

At Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh 220 electric water heaters are being replaced by solar water heaters, thereby saving the emission of 227 tons of greenhouse gases every year.

Electric water heaters that have been in service for dozens of years at a veteran kibbutz in Ramat Hanegev are presently being replaced by solar water heaters. The energy conservation at the end of this operation is equivalent to taking 55 cars off the road.

If you have sunlight: At the initiative of Ramat Hanegev Regional Council a project has been launched to replace electric water heaters with solar water heaters at Kibbutz Mashabei Sadeh. In the next few days some 220 electric water heaters, which have been in use for over 20 years, will be replaced. The kibbutz, established in 1949 and currently numbering around 550 residents, is expected to save 380,000 kW per year through this action. This is equivalent to saving 277 tons of greenhouse gases per year. In addition, each household is expected to save an average of 1,000 shekels per year as a result of this project.

The water heater replacement project is the largest such venture in the region’s energy efficiency process that began two years ago. The project cost is estimated at approximately 600,000 shekels and is being partnered by the Ministry of Energy, which is subsidizing about 25% of the cost as an incentive to replace electric energy with cheap and abundant solar energy. The other partner is the Amcor Company which is responsible for executing the heater replacement and installation. The energy efficiency process that has already been executed at the “Mashabim” elementary school has resulted in financial savings of around 30,000 shekels per year. In the next few weeks an energy efficiency survey for small businesses will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and the Small Business Authority.

Shmulik Rifman, Mayor of the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council, said, “This is the first project of such a large scope in the field of energy efficiency, of which I’m sure there will be many more. We intend to continue engaging in the field of energy efficiency in the coming years, and I congratulate the members of the kibbutz for being pioneers in Israel in this field, too.”

Elite Weil Shpern (לבדוק איות), Head of the Environmental Unit in the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council, said, “The savings for each and every home by heating with solar energy rather than electricity is 1900 kW per year. A dramatic step like replacing 220 water heaters is equivalent to taking 55 cars off the road or reducing household garbage by 100 tons a year! So we can see that it’s possible to save a lot of money and also care for the environment at the same time. We hope that these successes attract similar processes in additional kibbutzim and businesses in Ramat Hanegev. The Council is also leading other municipalities participating in a pilot program for trash separation. This is yet another step on the way to attain our goal of turning our region into a ‘green municipality’ in Israel.”