ENERGY STAR Success Story: Islamic Society of North America
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Leads in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Sustainability
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the oldest and largest U.S. Muslim umbrella organization founded to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam. Based upon the premise that Islam ordained the community to be the stewards and protectors of this planet, in December 2014, ISNA launched the ISNA Green Initiative to create awareness and provide guidance to help member mosques/Islamic centers become more environmentally friendly and adopt sustainable practices. Goals of the ISNA Green Initiative include raising awareness of issues around environmental protection and conservation, promoting the practice of a “Green Ramadan” to reduce waste and conserve resources, promoting environmental social justice, and both reducing energy use through energy efficiency and utilizing renewable energy resources such as solar power.
To help meet these goals, in 2020, ISNA began working with EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Congregations program to develop tools and resources specific to Muslim communities for reducing energy and water consumption. One of the first major projects was updating the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook to make it specific to the types of properties most used by the Muslim faith – including mosques, schools, and Islamic centers. This new document was cobranded by ISNA and renamed the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Muslim Communities.
One of the key focus areas in the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook is how to benchmark energy and water consumption using EPA’s Portfolio Manager tool. Benchmarking allows a property to track and measure their energy and water use, and with that information, identify opportunities for improvements.
The ISNA Green Team benchmarked several Islamic Centers in 2020 and found that the Islamic Center of Evansville, IN, scored high enough to qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. Members of the ISNA Green Team learned about the verification requirements and worked through the process to earn ENERGY STAR certification in 2021. The Islamic Center of Evansville is only the second Islamic Center in the U.S. to earn ENERGY STAR certification and the first one to receive certification with this partnership. The ISNA Green Team members are using their findings and lessons learned from the process to help other Mosques/Islamic centers, and Islamic schools use Portfolio Manager and aim to achieve ENERGY STAR certification.
Based on their ENERGY STAR certification, as well as its investment in and use of solar power onsite, the Islamic Center of Evansville, Newburgh, IN, was one of 12 national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2022 Cool Congregations Challenge award winners. This annual contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the U.S. who are doing work to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint as they create models of sustainability within their communities.
In 2022, ISNA learned about ENERGY STAR Treasure Hunts, which are collaborative quests where teams of volunteers or employees uncover opportunities to save energy and water in a facility. A key resource of Treasure Hunts is the Treasure Maps – step-by-step checklists used to identify building efficiency opportunities including lighting, heating and cooling, and water. ISNA worked with ENERGY STAR to develop a Treasure Map specific to Muslim Communities – again, utilizing existing tools and resources to make them most useful to the target audience.
ISNA’s continued partnership with ENERGY STAR provides a unique and critical platform that shines a light on the intersection between Islam’s teachings and EPA’s critical mission of protecting human health and the environment.