Middle East's top three green mosque initiatives
ConstructionWeekOnline rounds up the top three initiatives implemented across the Middle East to make mosques more 'smart' and energy-efficient
Governments around the Middle East are facilitating the implementation of programmes and technology to reduce energy consumption at mosques.
Initiatives offered by regional governments range from replacing a facility's building management system (BMS) to installing smart sensors, to refurbishing a facility's full utility set up.
The large areas that typically span in and around mosques, coupled with the buildings' high level of footfall, has motivated authorities to make their assets more sustainable through smarter setups.
The following pages outline the top three initiatives implemented by mosque authorities across the Middle East to improve their facilities' energy savings.
Next page: City mosque authority inks MoU for Dubai Lamp
This April, Dubai Municipality (DM) announced it has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with five organisations across the emirate to cooperate on energy- and water-saving programmes.
One of the MoUs was inked with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).
The MoUs will entail the installation of various Dubai Lamp models at the existing and new facilities of these organisations.
More than 2,000 mosques in Dubai will switch to Dubai Lamps as part of the MoU agreements.
IACAD is also involved in an IFM contract with Imdaad, which includes more than 500 mosques across Dubai and services such as cleaning, technical maintenance, and waste management, among others.
A key component of Imdaad’s work with IACAD is resource management and savings. The company has installed 1,387 aerators into the taps of 60 mosques, and the initiative is projected to achieve 25% in water savings upon completion.
Meanwhile, energy conservation systems will be installed in 35% of Imdaad’s mosque portfolio in Bur Dubai through its Imtedaad platform.
As part of its energy-saving plans for IACAD’s facilities, Imdaad will also support the authority’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Municipality.
Continued on next page: Masdar's capital effort
Last June, the UAE's Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) revealed a research project using sensor technologies and customised mathematical algorithms to make mosques "smart" and more energy-efficient.
MIST has been working with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments to get the smart sensor system installed and tested at a number of local mosques.
The smart mosque sensor system is currently installed and being tested at two Abu Dhabi mosques – Masjid Fatah and Masjid Al Haq.
Between prayer hours, mosques may sit idle for several hours, either empty or nearly empty.
These multiple peak times of sudden crowding followed by hours of dormancy, coupled with mosques’ open space, differentiate mosques from other buildings, and thus require a specialised sensor system.
Dr Talal Rahwan, assistant professor of computing and information sciences at MIST, said: "Often mosques choose one of two options to deal with air-conditioning – either a mosque will leave the air-conditioner on all day, even when the mosque is empty, or the mosque will lower the air-conditioning when no one is present, and increase it again to a very high level once the mosque becomes full.
"But the problem is that at this point, the inhabitants are already hot and uncomfortable as they wait for the entire building to cool.
"Furthermore, turning the air-conditioning to a very high level is very inefficient and wasteful. Worse still, by the time the building becomes cool enough for comfort, the worshipers have left the mosque altogether."
Next page: Morocco reveals 600-mosque overhaul
Up to 600 mosques in Morocco will be refurbished based on 'energy-saving' contracts in partnership with departments from the German government.
According to a statement released by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the programme will support Morocco "in modernising the energy use of its mosques".
Technology expected to be used for the project includes LED lighting, photovoltaic systems, and solar water heaters.
The project's term is January 2015 to March 2019, at a total cost of $5.58m (EUR5m).
UK daily Guardian reported that the Moroccan ministry of Islamic affairs is "underwriting" the contract, and will pay up to "70% of the initial investment costs in a partnership with the German government".
Next page: Turkey smartens up for water
In July 2016, it was announced that Turkey’s Şişli Mosque has replaced its taps with Grohe Ecojoy products.
The water-efficient replacements have resulted in an 18% reduction in water consumption across the mosque’s sanitary facilities.
The installation of Grohe Ecojoy products at Şişli Mosque is expected to offer annual water savings of 270,000 litres, compared to the mosque’s previous sanitary fittings.
As part of its ‘Turn Water into Food’ initiative, and in conjunction with the Şişli Mosque Foundation, the sanitary fittings manufacturer used the cash equivalent of the water savings to create 1,000 Ramadan packages for those in need.
Commenting on the Şişli Mosque project, Simon G Shaya, Grohe’s president for the East Mediterranean, Middle East, and Africa, said: “Grohe’s sustainable business practices [represent our] commitment to the ecological and economical use of natural resources and the protection of the environment."