Moroccan mosques are becoming environment friendly

Sunday 02/10/2016
The As-Sunna mosque in the Moroccan capital Rabat. (AFP)

Rabat - A few weeks before it hosts the 22nd Confer­ence of the Parties (COP 22) climate conference, Morocco is launching an ambitious project to turn its mosques “green” as a commitment to clean energy.
The Moroccan Ministry of En­dowments and Islamic Affairs an­nounced a tender to modify 64 mosques in six of the kingdom’s cities to reduce the amount of en­ergy they consume.
Its goal is a 40% reduction in energy costs at 15,000 mosques around the country that consume an average of 90 kilowatts a day, said the Energy Investment Com­pany (SIE), which represents the state in energy strategies.
Studies have shown that energy consumption can be cut 60%, with estimates showing savings of as much as 68% at Rabat’s majestic As-Sunna mosque.
This can be achieved through energy-saving lighting, photo­voltaic electricity generation and solar water heating and without harming the appearance of the mosques.
The upgrades will also benefit the faithful, with access to hot wa­ter for washing and air condition­ing available in prayer rooms, said SIE.
Another upshot would be the “strong social impact” through the creation of 5,000 jobs and a new growth market, it said. “The re­turn of the investment made will be based on the energy savings achieved.”
German development organisa­tion GIZ, which supports the pro­ject, describes it as a “win-win” situation that will also raise aware­ness of renewable and efficient en­ergy in Morocco.
“It is based on the idea that Moroccan companies… involved in these mosques will be repaid through savings made by the building manager,” said GIZ’s Jan- Christoph Kuntze.
All of the technology needed is “already available on the local market”, he said, adding that this gave the project the potential to create jobs.
“The mosques can play a mul­tiplier role” of raising awareness about the need to save energy and adapt to cleaner sources.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI has pushed a proactive policy of environmental awareness in the North African country of nearly 34 million people, 99% of whom are Muslim.
Marrakech is to be the site of COP 22, the next world climate confer­ence, from November 7th-18th.
Central to this was the opening of Noor I — the first stage of what will be the largest solar power plant in the world — near Ouarzaz­ate on the edge of the Sahara.
As Morocco counts down to COP 22, its people are being exposed more and more to events and ini­tiatives showcasing the country’s involvement in protecting the planet.
Its “green mosques” project is expected to take centre stage in the drive for change being high­lighted at the conference.
(Agence France-Presse)