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West Entrance goes green, gets Gold

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

It’s fitting on this St. Patrick’s Day that our news is about green and gold. We’re proud to announce that our new West Entrance has just achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green building certification system!

Our West Entrance opened last summer to make the visitor experience more efficient and convenient, with lots of helpful amenities including bathrooms, rentals, member services and even a shade-grown coffee cart. But the green features of the entrance are perhaps a bit harder to see on the surface.

The entrance was actually designed with sustainability in mind—from energy-efficient buildings, to low-flow toilets, and Forest Steward Council-certified wood used on exterior siding.

The rainwater infiltration system in the entrance was built to prevent the runoff of approximately 975,000 gallons of stormwater a year, reducing the chance of overflow from the combined sewer system going into our local waterways like Puget Sound.

The West Entrance is actually the second project here at Woodland Park Zoo to receive LEED certification. Back in 2007, Zoomazium—with its green roof, recycled materials and energy conservation—became the first zoo project in North America to receive LEED Gold certification.

As a conservation organization, we know the importance of reducing our environmental impact in order to share habitat more sustainably with wildlife now and into the future. From solar panels on our carousel, to our water-saving penguin exhibit, and our ultimate recycling program—Zoo Doo—we’re committed to reducing our impact and modeling sustainable options for our visitors. What’s next for us? We’re constantly working to improve our environmental performance and have adopted a goal to reduce zoo greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below 1999 levels by 2012 and 20% by 2020. If you want to know more about our green programs, visit our Green Zoo site.

Photos by Ryan Hawk and Hannah Letinich/Woodland Park Zoo.