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Roxbury mosque is first Islamic center in US to receive Energy Star

27 June 2011 General No Comment Email This Post Email This Post

(Michael Paulson/Globe file/ June 2009)

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury Crossing.

By Matt Rocheleau, Town Correspondent

A Roxbury mosque became the first Islamic center in the country to receive a federal environmental label indicating the facility’s energy performance is better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide.

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center was among four New England congregations recognized this week for earning the Energy Star Label within the past year, officials said.

Since Energy Star-labeling of congregations began two years ago, 19 congregations nationwidehave received the distinction, five of which are in New England, according to program officials.Last June, the First Parish in Needham became the first congregation in the region to receive the label.

The other three congregations in the region that earned the label in the past year were: theDennis Union Church in Dennis, the Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester and New England Pentecostal in Pelham, New Hampshire.

Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“These congregations are setting a solid example of financial and environmental stewardship. They have successfully reduced their energy use and are showing all houses of worship across New England that environmental stewardship is possible for all sorts of organizations,” regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office Curt Spalding said in a press release. “We hope more small businesses and congregations will follow their lead and maximize energy efficiency opportunities in their own operations.”

The approximately 70,000 square-foot Islamic center opened in Roxbury Crossing amid community tension two years ago.

Officials said the mosque became a partner of Energy Star one year ago and earned a score of 92 out of 100 on the EPA’s energy performance scale.

“Jawad Benazzi, the facility manager, spearheaded the center’s energy efficiency initiative, purchasing energy efficient appliances in the kitchen and offices and putting signage in areas such as bathrooms and classroom to remind members to conserve whenever possible,” said the EPA release.

“The center had electrical and gas audits conducted by their local utility for free and that helped them to identify energy saving opportunities,” the release continued. “This led to upgrading more than 70 percent of their interior lights. Other improvements included adding motion detectors in bathrooms, and putting reducers on the bathroom faucets to save on water and energy.”

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