The Greenest Zoo in America: Plants, Animals & Sustainability

Posted March 16, 2022 by Angela Hatke

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Greenest Zoo in America®! The Cincinnati Zoo might be the second oldest zoo in the country, but we lead the way in sustainability and green initiatives by greening our daily operations and reducing our impact on the environment.

Through green building, solid waste management, renewable energy, water conservation, storm water management, energy efficiency and community outreach, the Zoo has strengthened its sustainability program to have a positive impact on the planet!

Water Conservation

  • The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has saved over two BILLION gallons of water, enough to provide water (indoor and outdoor use) for 10,000 households for a year, since 2006 when it launched a major initiative to reduce water usage! This reduction in water consumption has saved the Zoo 10 million dollars on its water bills; money that’s being reinvested in the Zoo’s infrastructure.

Net Zero 

  • As part of the ambitious More Home to Roam capital campaign, the Zoo is taking its groundbreaking, robust stormwater management program to the next level to drive down non-potable water use to zero.

Recycling – cell phones! 

  • Recycle old cell phones with Project Saving Species. Cell phones also contain an ore called Coltan, which is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa. Loss of habitat and hunting are serious threats to the gorillas future. Reducing the demand for Coltan will help save these animals and their habitat!

Renewable Energy 

  • We have committed to using clean, renewable energy, as well as producing our own renewable energy on site.

Green Buildings 

  • At the Zoo, we recognize that most of an organization’s carbon footprint lies in its buildings and utilities. Because of this, the Zoo is committed to building all new projects to LEED Silver standards, the first Zoo in the country to make this commitment publicly. The Zoo currently has more LEED buildings than any other Zoo in the nation.

Light Up Avondale 

  • In 2017 and 2018, thanks to the support from the Duke Class Benefit Fund, the Zoo was given roughly $700,000 for our Light Up Avondale Project. Besides going all LED here at the Zoo, part of the Light Up Avondale Project is to undertake a major extension of energy efficiency efforts into our Avondale community surrounding the Zoo. By connecting to our neighbors, we are supporting our community with our expertise, connections, passion, and resources to be as safe, healthy, sustainable, and wildly natural as can be.

Meet some of our animals going green!