DUBAI // A project to build what has been described as the UAE's first eco-friendly mosque is set to be completed in 18 months.
Dubai's Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation yesterday awarded the contract to construct what will also be the emirate's largest mosque to Al Arif Contracting.
When finished, the 4,180 square metre building will have room for 3,500 worshippers at Port Saeed, near the Deira Clock Tower.
Photovoltaic panels will provide electricity to heat water for ablutions and other needs, while highly efficient air conditioning and a computerised system measuring the efficiency of electrical equipment will also be features.
The building's facade will have a special coating to help keep it cool in summer and it will rely on natural light to save more energy.
The project also includes water-saving features such as a system that can purify the water used for ablutions and reuse it to flush toilets and irrigate green landscaping.
Tayeb Al Rais, the secretary general of the foundation, said his organisation spent eight months developing the concept, working with the British company Greenfield Consulting.
The mosque was conceived as an opulent structure in Ottoman style. The idea came from an Emirati who planned to fund the project, but he became incapacitated and the foundation was granted custodianship of the project.
"Unfortunately he is in a coma now but we have a responsibility to build the mosque on his behalf," said Mr Al Rais. "We wanted to build something that has not been built here before."
While the overall plan is in line with the patron's wishes, the foundation made some changes including a simpler, less expensive heritage style.
The foundation came up with the eco-friendly theme, making the mosque eligible for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scheme.
"We will reduce our electricity consumption by 20 per cent and our water consumption by 25 per cent," said Mr Al Rais.
"Hopefully people will see this concept and follow our example when they are building new mosques or refurbishing existing ones. We are happy to share our experience."