Wednesday, March 23, 2011

German Mosque Will Be Partially Wind Powered

A mosque in Istanbul. Photo courtesy: Jennifer Hattam via TreeHugger

All too often groups, particularly religious groups, tend to stick to the same rigid ways of doing things just because it always been that way. Some have tunnel vision and/or cannot expand their horizons to include what is new or different. Fortunately, there is one Muslim community that is open-minded enough to incorporate eco-friendly features in the mosque they are planning to build.

The tall spire that is often the most distinctive architectural feature of a mosque, a minaret is important as the place from which the Islamic call to prayer is issued five times a day. In one small Muslim community in northern Germany, this religious symbol is set to become an environmental one as well: A mosque in the works will be partially powered by wind turbines in its minarets.

Local authorities last month approved a request from a Muslim community in Norderstedt, near Hamburg, to build a new mosque complex with the eco-friendly feature, The Guardian reported earlier this week. The community, part of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, is still working to raise money for the 2.5 million-euro project.

"I thought about how we could give sacral architecture an ecological focus," Hamburg architect Selcuk Ünyilmaz, who is of Turkish descent, told the British newspaper. "My design combines the modern with the traditional, so I wanted to give the minarets a contemporary function."

The turbines housed in the two 22-meter-high minarets will produce enough power in the windy coastal town to meet about a third of the mosque's energy needs. A similar project is planned in London by the Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

Via TreeHugger

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