The exhibit highlights the Zoo’s green efforts in terms of green building design, energy efficiency, water conservation, storm water management, solid waste management, and land stewardship. Go Green Challenges throughout the exhibit present tangible suggestions for how visitors can address the same issues at home. The Go Green Garden also acts as the hub for botanical information in addition to its emphasis on going green.


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1Metro Transit HubThe first LEED certified bus hub in the nation includes solar
panels and LED lights.
2Vine Street Parking LotConstructed with pervious concrete, this 15-acre parking lot houses two water retention tanks underneath to collect rainwater runoff from the lot and slowly release it into the city’s storm water system. The Parking Lot is also home to the 1.56 megawatt Melink Solar Canopy, which provides 20% of the Zoo’s total energy needs.
3Transit PavilionThis LEED Certified Gold project features eco-friendly building
materials and high energy efficiency.
4Historic Vine Street VillageThe first LEED Certified Platinum project in Cincinnati includes
pervious pavement, a solar thermal water system, solar panels,
and sustainable building materials.
5Zoo Gift ShopThis LEED Certified Gold project features eco-friendly building
materials and high energy efficiency.
6Duke Energy Go Green GardenLearn how the Zoo, and you, can go green from examples of
storm water management solutions, alternative energy, recycling,
and more.
7Edible Food GardenOur small edible garden, located near the Schott Education Center,
demonstrates how easily and compactly a productive vegetable
garden can be built. Featured are raised vegetable beds and vertical
window boxes, which provide legumes (beans and peas), cold
crops (kale, cabbage, cauliflower), tomatoes, peppers, herbs and
more to feed our animals.
8P&G Discovery ForestBuilt out of recycled steel and local limestone, the conservatory’s
window, heating, fan, and fog systems are tied to automated controls
to reduce cooling and heating costs.
9Harold C. Schott Education CenterGreen building elements of this LEED Certified Silver center
include solar panels, rain gardens, low flow toilets, recycled carpet,
and more.
10Giraffe RidgeThe giraffe barn is topped with a 2,400 square foot green roof to
reduce rainwater runoff. The deck and benches are constructed
with material made from recycled plastic. The giraffes also contribute
to the Zoo’s composting program. Walkways made with
pervious pavement help capture stormwater.
11Swan Lake BridgeThe bridge, like the benches and decks throughout the Zoo, is made of recycled plastic. Approximately 51,600 plastic bottles were diverted from the landfill to make this bridge.
12Cheetah EncounterThe holding area for the Cat Ambassador Program’s Cheetah
Encounter features solar tubes for natural lighting, energy efficient
lights and appliances, and water efficient fixtures.
13AfricaThis four-acre slated LEED Gold Certified exhibit harnesses
17-acres of the Zoo’s watershed, capturing over 30 million gallons
of rainwater to be reused throughout the Zoo.
14Painted Dog ExhibitThe Zoo’s first slated Living Building Challenge exhibit, which
promotes the most advanced measurement of sustainability in
the built environment. The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories, or petals that include Place, Water, Energy,Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.
15Base Camp CaféThe Greenest Restaurant in the United States, Base Camp Café
sources food locally and sustainably, saves water and energy
during its operations, and reduces waste.
16Aquaponics GreenhouseThe aquaponics greenhouse is a zero waste system that mixes
the techniques of hydroponics and aquaculture. Aquaponics is a
closed loop system, where plants utilize the nutrients from fish
waste while cleaning the water for the fish. The food grown in the
Zoo’s greenhouse is harvested and used in the Base Camp Café.
17Train StationThe train runs on blended biodiesel fuel, which includes natural
oils that burn cleaner than petroleum-based diesel.
18Manatee SpringsThe 160,000 gallon manatee tank and behind the scenes area
received some green upgrades, including solar tubes for more
natural lighting, and an upgraded filtration system to keep everything running efficiently.
19Shipping and Receiving CenterThe former Nocturnal House has been converted into a warehouse
and office center. This LEED certified Silver building features
energy efficiency, eco-friendly building materials, and water saving
20Native Plants & Butterfly GardensThe gardens provide local butterflies and other wildlife with food
and shelter among other ecological benefits.
21Honeybee HiveHoneybees help pollinate a third of the world’s crops, but their populations are in serious decline. Here at the Zoo and on our EcOhio Farm, we have established honey bee hives to contribute
to honey bee populations. The hives are managed by an internal
beekeeping team called Pollen Nation.
22Night Hunters & Cat CanyonThis LEED Gold Certified project features extensive LED lighting,
stormwater retention and reuse, and a new, highly reflective white
roof, among other green features. Throughout construction of the
project, at least 91% of construction waste was diverted from the
23Gorilla WorldDrop off old cell phones in the collection box here and at other
spots around the Zoo to reduce the demand for coltan, an ore
used in phones that is mined in gorilla habitat. Gorilla World also
features a vegetative roof that has lasted for more than 30 years,
and all of the boilers, chillers and other facility equipment have
been upgraded to be more energy efficient.