The Greenest Zoo in America® LEEDing the Way in Sustainable Habitat Design

Posted November 27, 2018

Cincinnati Zoo’s Gorilla World Earns LEED Platinum Certification

CINCINNATI (November 27, 2018) –  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, aka The Greenest Zoo in America®, has achieved Platinum LEED certification for its new indoor Gorilla World habitat!

“Visitors may only notice baby gorilla Elle spinning around and playing in the gorillas’ indoor habitat, but there’s much more to admire in and about that space,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “Almost half of the building products we used were manufactured using recycled materials and 44% came from local suppliers.  We’re proud of that.”

Baby Gorilla Elle Indoor Gorilla WorldThe Zoo has been LEEDing the way in sustainable building practices for more than a decade and has built an impressive list of green awards and accomplishments.  It earned the first LEED Silver certification in Cincinnati in 2006, the first LEED Platinum in the city in 2009, and was the first Zoo in the world and project in Ohio to receive Living Building Challenge recognition for its Painted Dog Valley habitat.

Today, we are working toward an ambitious goal to become a zero-waste facility by 2025, Cincinnati Zoo’s 150th anniversary,” said Maynard.  “In addition to building LEED certified habitats and implementing smart water usage practices that have saved a billion gallons of water, we are growing food for our animals and helping our neighbors put LED bulbs in their homes and businesses.”

In 2011, the Zoo began an initiative to collect old cell phones to protect gorilla habitats in Africa, where a mineral used to make cell phones is mined.  Since that time, it has recycled 100,000 cell phones! A collection bin is located in Gorilla World, so visitors can drop off phones and see the endangered species that will benefit from their donation at the same time!

“They may not notice the low-flow water fixtures, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and other elements above and below the gorilla building that helped us earned platinum certification, but the giant solar panel array over the parking lot is hard to miss! We’re working hard to LEED by example and inspire others to make sustainable choices,” said Maynard.

Earlier this year, the Zoo announced its plan to dramatically enhance animal habitats while also improving the visitor experience. The Zoo’s master “More Home to Roam” vision includes an interactive kangaroo walkabout, new home for our little penguins, an adventure ropes course, a parking garage, more home to roam for our rhinos and polar bears, a new nature-based play area and FIVE TIMES more space for elephants!  Click here to help us build a better, more sustainable Zoo!