Cincinnati Zoo Wins Prestigious Impact Award for Brightening Neighbors’ Lives

Posted February 28, 2020

CINCINNATI (February 28, 2020) – Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Greenest Zoo in America, is proud to be the recipient of Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s 2020 Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award!  The Zoo was recognized at an awards ceremony last night for its Light Up Avondale project, an initiative that started in 2017 with the goal to install energy-efficient LED bulbs in residences and businesses in Avondale!

“We’re not doing this to win awards, but recognition from a prestigious organization like MEEA raises awareness and gets people talking about what they can do.” said Mark Fisher, Cincinnati Zoo’s vice president of facilities and sustainability.  “If more businesses share resources with underserved neighbors when investing in their own success, the positive impact will multiply dramatically.”

When the Zoo applied for a grant from Duke Energy to transition all lights on its 80+-acre campus to LED, it requested additional funds to install energy-efficient lightbulbs in homes, businesses, churches, and non-profits throughout the Avondale community.  The funding it received was enough to complete phase 1 of the Light Up Avondale project and transition 20% of the neighborhood to LED lights. This will add up to $1 million in energy cost savings over the next five years and a sizable reduction in carbon emissions!

“This project is a great example of how anchor institutions can use their influence, horsepower, and capacity to lift everyone up,” said Fisher.  “It’s important to note that we couldn’t have accomplished our goal without several key partnerships, and we’ll continue to rely on those as we figure out how to get Avondale from 20% to 100% LED!”

Project partners include Donovan Energy, Millcreek Alliance’s Green Corps, Avondale Community Council, Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation, Easter Seals, Gabriel’s Place, HuDawn Facility Solutions, and Cincinnati State.

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.

How to Participate:

  • Are you a resident of Avondale interested in saving money on your energy bills?
  • Are you able to allow the Zoo’s Install Team to do the installation of bulbs in your home?
  • Are you an electrician who wants to give back to the community?
  • Contact Fia Turczynewycz, Sustainable Communities Advocate, for more information: [email protected] or call (513) 487-3355.