Powell, OH – The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was recently presented with the Sustainable Growth Award from The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) for its green practices.
In 2008, the Columbus Zoo Board of Trustees developed the following policy on sustainability: “Recognizing its impact on all stakeholders, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will develop a world class sustainability program leading to the meaningful reduction of its carbon footprint.”
The Zoo staff went into action with several capital projects that are already returning ecological and financial rewards. First of these projects was the development of a geothermal system that uses the heat energy within the groundwater to heat and cool three buildings and all of the water pools in the bear habitats, in Polar Frontier. Then upgrades were made to lighting in the Zoo’s Warehouse by combining energy efficient overhead lights with Ciralight skylights. This combination will reduce energy costs, provide longer life lamps, reduce maintenance, and reduce cooling loads in addition to providing intangible benefits that include the health benefits of natural lighting and improved productivity. Finally, the Zoo has made a commitment to move towards Zero Waste with a policy to convert all of its tableware and cups at all food service venues to compostable materials in the future. All food and biodegradable plastic will be comingled with animal bedding material and sent to a compost facility.
The lessons learned from these projects will be shared with millions of Zoo visitors each year and will drive the community and region to practice sustainable living.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open 363 days of the year. General admission is $12.99 for adults, $7.99 for children ages 2 to 9 and seniors 60+. Children under 2 and Columbus Zoo members are free. The Zoo was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.) For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org.