Lighting up Avondale one bulb at a time 

CINCINNATI (January 29, 2018) – Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Greenest Zoo in America, is working to make its neighborhood of Avondale one of Cincinnati’s most energy efficient communities, thanks to a grant from the Duke Class Benefit Fund.

“In addition to the money requested to complete a Zoo-wide conversion to LED lights, we asked for over 300k to install energy-efficient lightbulbs in homes, businesses, churches, and non-profits throughout the Avondale community,” said Mark Fisher, Cincinnati Zoo’s vice president of facilities and sustainability.  “Many of these old homes are huge energy pits and utility bills absolutely devastate family budgets in this community. By making this switch, we will be saving these families hundreds of dollars per year on their utilities and doing something great for the environment.”

Lighting conversion is now underway for several non-profits and churches in the neighborhood.  The Light Up Avondale street team, a group of local high schoolers, went door-to-door to last summer to spread the word about the program to businesses and homeowners.  Many have signed up to participate.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Zoo on the Light Up project.  The project has an immediate impact in the community with better light, cost saving and contributes to much needed energy conservation,” said Patricia Milton, president of the Avondale Community Council.  “The money that nonprofits/churches will save goes back into the community and means more programs, resources, services, and jobs for residents.”

The Light Up project also includes the installation of fresh, new, adequate lighting in areas that the Cincinnati Police Department (District 4) and the community have identified as trouble spots. “We’re hoping to push crime and violence away from the most vulnerable.  Think daycares, schools, senior citizen facilities.  I know it sounds simple, but just having the right lighting around the right corner can move criminal activity away from those that struggle to fight for themselves,” said Fisher.

Project partners include the Avondale Community Council, Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation, Easter Seals, Gabriel’s Place, HuDawn Facility Solutions, and Donovan Energy.

Why Avondale? Avondale is home to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. A strong community means a strong Zoo, and vice versa. The fourth pillar of the Zoo’s mission, “Serving Community”, was added in 2005 – recognizing its desire and responsibility to build a strong relationship with neighborhood organizations, schools, and residents to build a safe, strong, healthy community.  Avondale is predominately low-income, high-unemployment, high-crime, and underserved. With the support of Duke, the Greenest Zoo in America can share its expertise with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability to benefit neighboring home and business owners.