KidZooU Gets Gold for Going Green

Philadelphia Zoo’s newest exhibit is awarded prestigious LEED ® Gold certification

PHILADELPHIA (January 13, 2014) – Philadelphia Zoo announced today that KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified project. LEED is the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings. The process, which is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC®), awards points for design, construction, and operation practices resulting in more energy efficient and environmentally responsible building.

KidZooU utilizes such elements as: geothermal wells for heating and cooling; daylighting; rain water collection for use as gray water to flush the public toilets; rain gardens and vegetated roofs to reduce water runoff into storm drains; building reuse (renovation of the former pachyderm exhibit); and recycled and salvage building materials.

“As part of our ongoing transformation, the Zoo continues to take its role as a conservation leader very seriously,” says Nina Bisbee, the Zoo’s Vice President of Planning. “This recognition marks an important milestone for us. As we continue to improve our Zoo with our mission top of mind, visitors will continue to see projects utilizing energy efficient, eco-friendly design from the earliest stages of planning, to construction, to operation.”

KidZooU was conceptualized with an important purpose – to educate young learners and lifelong learners alike that saving energy can help save wildlife. The interactive exhibits within the education center and the up-close animal encounters outdoors together aim to positively impact the environment by teaching visitors that they can make simple changes in their lives every day to help protect wild animals. Through its thoughtful green design and interpretative features, KidZooU now serves as a beacon for guests, reminding them by example of the importance of this message while also teaching them about green building.

“KidZooU is helping to further reduce our overall energy and water use,” says Glenn Sonntag, the Zoo’s Sustainability Manager. “Even though we’ve added a new building, our intensity of use continues to drop relative to our overall facility size. This project truly champions the importance of sustainability and has inspired our guests and staff to get more involved. This LEED Certification has resulted from much planning and hard work by many, showing how all here at the Zoo take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously, ‘walking the walk’ each day in our own backyard.”          
KidZooU’s sustainable design was also recognized by the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Storm Water Initiative (TVSSI), as one of the best new storm water control measure projects in the region in 2013.

SMP Architects, led by principal David M. Ade, AIA, LEEP AP, served as the architect and sustainability/LEED consultant and W.S. Cumby served as Construction Manager for the adaptive re-use of the former 21,000 SF historic Pachyderm House. KidZooU is the Philadelphia Zoo's first LEED-certified project.

USGBC, LEED and related logos are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council  and are used with permission.

America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.