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The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Need

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden understands the unique societal role of public institutions to educate and promote conservation and environmental sustainability. Just some examples of the Zoo’s achievements since 2005 include the installation of one of Ohio’s largest and most visible solar photovoltaic arrays, reducing potable water consumption by over 75%, various levels of LEED certification across multiple projects, Living Building Petal Certification for the Painted Dog exhibit, and large-scale implementation of energy-efficiency projects.

The Zoo’s sights are now set on the big, hairy, and audacious goal of eliminating the campus’s environmental impact, and intelligently connecting to the energy ecosystem of the future.

Our Approach

We developed a Strategic Energy Plan framework for the Zoo, which describes the technical and business opportunities available to the Zoo on energy. Subsequently, we performed a campus energy audit to identify 14 individual energy efficiency opportunities, which could further decrease campus energy use by about 10%. We then performed a retro-commissioning study of one of the largest energy using facilities on campus to institutionalize knowledge of the facility’s design intent, current operation, ideal operation, etc.

We are currently helping the Zoo to understand the weather-normalized energy, water, emissions, and cost savings of its efforts since 2005 as the campus has increased its built environment by about 30%, annual attendance has increased, and utility costs have significantly changed.

The Results

The Sustainable Energy Vision for the Zoo is “Intelligently Connecting to the Energy Ecosystem of the Future”.

The Zoo is stepping out ahead of peer organizations in its relationship to energy. Following the Strategic Energy Plan, the Zoo will economically maximize on-site renewable generation, economically minimize energy consumption, intelligently determine when to export or import energy, and will educate internal and external stakeholders. We expect the zoo’s self-made momentum to continue to surprise us as future achievements are made.

Our Role

Strategic Energy Plan developer, energy auditor, commissioning agent, technical advisor, measurement & verification (M&V) consultant.

The Client

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden




Charles Schreier, PE

Gregory Raffio, PE, LEED AP BD+C

John Seryak, PE

Peter Kleinhenz, PE

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