As a conservation organization, we work hard to save wild things in wild places around the globe. The Saint Louis Zoo has also focused on protecting the environment through a range of waste reduction and energy and water conservation initiatives.
In 2013, the Zoo installed a solar array on the rooftop of its Safari Gift Shop. This installation includes a real-time look at the amount of generation the solar panels provide. You can track this at this site or from a digital display at the South Arrival Experience bridge leading into the Zoo!
This is only one of several projects here at the Zoo that reduce the water and energy we use and the need for landfill space. In 2015, the Green Dining Alliance certified Café Kudu restaurant in The Living World building with 4 stars. In 2013, the Saint Louis Zoo was honored with the Star Circle of Excellence Award from the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Saint Louis Green Business Challenge. In 2014, the Zoo won the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter Growing Green Award for Operational Excellence. The Zoo also was awarded first place for its solar system by the St. Louis American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Chapter. The ASHRAE Technology Award contest recognizes energy efficient, green design.
The William R. Orthwein, Jr. & Laura Rand Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center's sleek, modern design incorporates many green design features making it one of only a handful of buildings in the St. Louis area to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification. Energy efficient and environmentally friendly features, including a green roof composed of a mixture of colorful sedum (succulent all-weather plant) species and grasses, optimized heating and cooling systems, plus the extensive use of natural light and recycled materials, will ensure compliancy with the LEED rating systems.
Here's a sampling of how the Zoo conserves resources:
Recycling - paper, plastic, cardboard, electronics, scrap metal, construction and demolition materials and much more
The Saint Louis Zoo diverted over half of its total waste from landfills in 2013. This initiative included recycling over 70 tons of cardboard, nearly 20 tons of mixed paper, nearly 66,000 pounds of scrap metal and over 5,500 tons of plastics. The Zoo also recycles all light bulbs, batteries, cooking oil, motor oil, electronics, holiday lights and construction waste. The Zoo sends approximately 2.6 million pounds of animal waste, bedding and landscape material to composting each year.
As it cleared the former Forest Park Hospital site which it recently acquired, the Zoo diverted over 80% of all construction waste for reuse, avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from transporting these wastes.
Eco-friendly in Food Service: In 2013, the Zoo's Food and Beverage Department continued to move toward a greener future by using eco-friendly products including Earth & Sky Rainforest Alliance Coffee and compostable paper products. In 2014 the Zoo is working with Saint Louis Composting in diverting hundreds of pounds of food waste from the landfill by composting the waste.
Conserving resources: Water and Horticulture
An extensive energy audit led to the installation of point-of-use water meters to identify opportunities to reduce water--in 2013, water consumption was reduced by 15.5 million gallons from 2012 consumption. Installed in 2012, Sea Lion Sound's massive underground, highly automated Life Support System facility helps the Zoo save 11 million gallons of water annually. Other savings came from replacing leaking valves and installing variable frequency drives on pump moters at Penguin & Puffin Coast and the Hippo exhibit to reclaim water.
New aeration systems were installed at the Zoo's cove and lakes area to improve water quality and reduce water consumption.
In 1910, a group of community leaders interested in a zoological park in St. Louis organized the Zoological Society of St. Louis. In 1913 the Zoo was incorporated as an independent civic organization and a Zoological Board of Control named. In 1916 the citizens of St. Louis voted a tax for construction of the Saint Louis Zoo. Through the years the community continues to support the Zoo, with a third of the Zoo's budget coming from property taxes in St. Louis City and County, a third from food service, gift shops and parking lots, and a third from private donations, corporations, foundations and membership. Over 1,000 active volunteers provide more than 70,000 hours of service each year.