Taking A “LEED” In Conservation
The United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system promotes buildings that are voluntarily built as environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work. The Zoo’s new L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center achieved the Gold designation by earning over 39 points on the LEED rating system.
What does it take to make an environmentally friendly building and earn a Gold LEED certification rating? A lot! Here are just a few of the things that Utah’s Hogle Zoo did in building the L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center to help the earth and earn this award.
The Zoo used steel, concrete, insulation, ceiling tiles, carpeting, and other products made from recycled materials. By using more recycled materials, fewer new, raw materials had to be mined, made, or manufactured. Over 17 percent of all materials purchased for the construction of the Animal Health Center were made from recycled products.
We purchased locally because products produced nearby don’t need to travel as far, saving gas and reducing pollution. More than 20 percent of the materials and products purchased for the Animal Health Center were extracted, harvested, recovered, or manufactured within a 500-mile radius.
Reducing Light Pollution
The Zoo chose exterior and interior lighting designed to reduce the amount of light spilling into the night sky—making it much easier to see the stars and moon! The lights inside the building are designed to turn on automatically and only when a room is occupied.
Since buildings warm their environment more than wild areas, the Zoo used heat island reduction strategies to reduce the amount of heat around the Animal Health Center. This includes an Energy Star-compliant, highly reflective roof, reflective paving, and plantings covering as much of the site as possible.
This building uses a lot less energy than others its size. Highly efficient heating, cooling, and electrical systems reduce energy consumption by 40 percent.
Protecting the Ozone Layer
Chlorofluorocarbons, CFC’s, destroy the ozone layer. Utah’s Hogle Zoo installed heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems that do not use any CFC-based refrigerants.
Maintaining Clean Air
Good indoor air quality makes a building healthier for both people and animals. To help keep the air clean, the Zoo chose carpets that exceed the requirements of the Green Label Indoor Air Quality Test Program as well as adhesives, sealants, and paints that emit few volatile organic chemicals. In addition to these clean air solutions, there is no smoking in any Zoo building or on Zoo grounds.
Encouraging Alternative Transportation Use>
The use of cars puts a heavy strain on our environment. To help reduce this pollution and land development impacts by cars, the Zoo implemented strategies to help encourage other methods of transportation. No new parking was added, bike storage was provided, along with a shower and changing facilities, and an alternative refueling station was added for electric cars and carts.
The Zoo used low-flow lavatories and sinks in the hospital, which will reduce potable water use by over 50 percent. Also, the Zoo planted vegetation that doesn’t require a permanent irrigation system.
The Zoo diverted 85 percent of construction waste away from landfills and incinerators by recycling or reusing materials.