Cincinnati Zoo’s Roo Valley Earns Highest Level of LEED Certification

Posted March 29, 2021

Pursuing Platinum for Elephant Trek, featuring 1-million-gallon water reuse system

 CINCINNATI, OH (March 29, 2021) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, aka The Greenest Zoo in America®, has achieved Platinum LEED certification for its new Roo Valley habitat!

“Each version of LEED gets more aggressive and is more difficult to achieve the various certification levels,” said Mark Fisher, Vice President, Facilities, Planning, and Sustainability at the Cincinnati Zoo. “This was hands down, the most difficult LEED certification that we have pursued. And to achieve LEED Platinum, the highest level of certification, is testament to not only the Zoo’s commitment to sustainability, but also to the level of commitment from our partners on our design and construction team.”

Key aspects of Roo Valley include a cutting edge, 100,000 gallon rainwater reuse system, a major, multi-tiered green roof, a large geothermal system to help heat and cool the building, and many other components that were incorporated into the habitat to lessen the footprint it will have on this planet… and lower the Zoo’s utility bills!

“The Cincinnati Zoo is looking to continue pushing the envelope and staying on the cutting edge with our projects and the upcoming Elephant Trek project will be no different,” said Fisher. “We will again be pursuing LEED Platinum certification. We’re investing in an aerobic digester that will be installed near the new elephant barn to allow us to convert all of our organic waste into fertilizer that will be made available for purchase.  Yes, you too will be able to utilize waste from Fiona to help you grow plants in your garden!”

A 1,000,000 gallon rainwater reuse system will be installed below Elephant Trek to keep rain out of area sewer systems and to provide best in class water for the animals.  And, the parking lot expansion will include a 3 MW solar array that will get the Zoo very close to the goal of meeting 100% of electric needs with on-site generation.

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is already considered The Greenest Zoo in America®, but these next few years will take the Zoo’s efforts to an entirely different level. A Net Zero level!

Roo Valley is included in Zoo Admission. The Cincinnati Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m.  Earlier reservations are available for Zoo members. Reservations are required and masks must be worn while at the Zoo. For more information, visit