Ramat Hanadiv is known as the location of green, open spaces, managed with an abiding commitment to sustainability and the environment. One of Ramat Hanadiv's goals, in fact, is to advance the field of sustainability by promoting nature conservation and the frugal use of resources, thus serving as an inspiration to others who share these concerns. It comes as no surprise, then, that the meticulous cultivation and care of the Memorial Gardens and the areas surrounding them, as well as the routine mainentance operations of the Nature Park ‒ grazing, cleaning the hiking paths, pruning and forestry jobs, etc. ‒ are all carried out with keen awareness of the principles of sustainability. Even the areas devoted to animals ‒ the acclimatization cage, for instance, and the goat shed ‒ get their regular maintenance with an eye on the environment.
An attractive park that provides excellent services for visitors requires buildings on the grounds to house offices, storage areas, information centres, workshops and other facilities for ongoing operation and maintainance. Outdoors or in, Ramat Hanadiv aims to give the public a pleasant, enjoyable visit in first-rate conditions. This means that buildings must have appropriate lighting, air-conditioning and heating, and multi-media facilities. While modern buildings are not part of nature, their maintenance, too, can be integrated into a vision of sustainability. It's worth listening to our friend Dudu Arush, head of building maintenance at Ramat Hanadiv, to hear how it's done.
Dudu meets us at the 'headquarters' of Ramat Hanadiv's electrical system. 'We save electricity several ways', he begins. 'Computerized, supervised maintainance of the system drastically reduces the number of faults that crop up. It prevents heat from accumulating, reduces the danger of fires, and saves precious energy. Ongoing maintenance includes annual reinforcement of the screws in the electric adapters, and removing accumulated dust via advanced technology based on dry ice'.
Wherever possible, Ramat Hanadiv makes use of 'clean technology', especially electricity produced by solar power. Dudu points out the lamps on the garden paths near the restaurant and elsewhere: Their light is produced by solar receptors which absorb the sun's rays. Solar energy also keeps the water flowing through a fountain in the Footprint Garden, and it powers the fans in Ramat Hanadiv's storerooms and other spaces.
In most buildings in Israel,. work places are lit primarily by windows, sky-lights, and electricity. At Ramat Hanadiv, Dudu tells us, every building used for offices and services has a structure on the roof that allows light to penetrate and illuminate the interiors with no need for supplementary electric lighting during the day. 'All the light bulbs on the premises', he adds proudly, 'are energy-saving LED ones, which use only about 20% of the electricity consumed by other bulbs'.
Since Israel's long summers are blisteringly hot, air-conditioners are a common sight on most buildings, and it's hard to imagine getting through the summer with out them. A/C units, however, consume an enormous amount of electricity. The Visitors Pavilion at the entrance to Ramat Hanadiv boasts an innovative A/C system, 'the first of its kind in Israel', Dudu notes. It employs a system of pipes buried some 30 meters in the ground, where the temperature remains constant at about 17° C (63° F). The water flowing through these pipes cools the gas of the air conditioning, saving about 30% in electric bills.
In case all that isn't enough, Ramat Hanadiv has created another energy-smart means to cool its buildings. Dudu tells us that special sensors ('economizers') determine the temperature outside the building and raise or lower a series of automated window shutters as necessary, thereby helping to regulate the amount of heat in the building.
In Israel, of course, it's extremely important to economize on water as well as electricity. Hence the drinking water supplied to Ramat Hanadiv passes through pumps fitted with more 'smart sensors': these operate the pumps only when required, thus saving both water and electricity. Sensors also control the faucets where visitors and staff wash their hands: Water spurts out when the sensor detects the presence of hands beneath the faucet; as soon as the hands are removed, the water stops automatically.
'Electronic monitoring of the pumps and all kinds of water dispensers', Dudu explains, 'makes it possible for us to track Ramat Hanadiv's water consumption closely so we can locate leaks and other problems in real time. Being able to repair them as soon as they happen prevents wastage of water and contributes to the conservation of our limited water supply'.
What happens to the water when we've finished using it? we wonder. Dudu answers. 'Not a drop of water is wasted at Ramat Hanadiv. Used water is not flushed into sewers; it is cleaned, purified, and recycled for use in irrigating pasture land. But no one here is resting on their laurels when it comes to economizing on natural resources. We are constantly seeking ‒ and finding ‒ new ways to conserve them and further Ramat Hanadiv's vision of sustainablility'.
And did we mention that Ramat Hanadiv's entire maintenance system, and all its thrifty, resource-saving measures, are operated by just two employees? Thank you, Dudu Arush and Joseph Haddad!