We purchased our new building at 200 W. Dundee Road in April 2013 and remodeled it over the summer. Our dedication was held on August 18, 2013, in a joyous event attended by hundreds of members, friends, and honored guests, including Congressman Brad Schneider, Illinois State Representative Elaine Nekritz, Village of Wheeling President Dean S. Argiris, and other local officials, along with representatives from a number of area synagogues and Jewish organizations. Close to 300 Shir Hadash members and guests gathered to celebrate the opening of the synagogue’s first building, more than 18 years after a small group of families founded the congregation.
Our sanctuary was designed by synagogue member and architect Mehran Farahmandpour and draws much of its inspiration from Jewish tradition and history. “The overall design idea was to represent our current view of the Torah while emphasizing our roots in Israel, our people and our traditions, hence a relatively simple and contemporary design using traditional materials such as wood and Jerusalem stone,” he said.
Not only is the bima (stage) wheelchair accessible, but the ark was designed so that somebody in a wheelchair can roll right up to it and take out a Torah without assistance.
In 2014, Shir Hadash commissioned a 117,000 watt solar panel system. The solar system has reduced the Synagogue’s carbon dioxide emission by nearly 106 tons a year, which is the equivalent of planting more than 4,200 trees each year. In the next 25 years, the energy saved will be the equivalent of planting 108,976 trees or reducing automobile use by over 4 million miles. The system will save Shir Hadash more than $20,000 per year in energy costs, and will pay for itself in about seven and a half years.
The Synagogue was awarded a grant of $240,000 by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) to help fund the project. The ICECF was formed in 1999 as an independent foundation endowed by Commonwealth Edison. Its goal is to improve energy efficiency, advance the development and use of renewable energy resources, and protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities all across Illinois.
The solar array was installed on the roof of the synagogue. The building’s flat commercial roofs had large open spaces that were well-suited for this type and size of array. Three hundred and sixty American made, Solar World 325 watt panels were placed in service using Panel Claw ballasted roof racking. Five 5-SMA 20kW TL inverters are converting the DC power produced by the array into AC for use in the building. Shir Hadash worked with WindFree Solar on this project. The system includes a gateway web-based monitoring system.
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