Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s African Elephant Crossing exhibit achieves Gold-level LEED certification
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification programs has designated the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s African Elephant Crossing exhibit Gold certified. Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED program is the nationally accepted construction industry standard for environmentally friendly buildings.
“Achieving LEED Gold certification is a great testament to the careful planning and execution that went into African Elephant Crossing,” said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “The Zoo is committed to promoting sustainability, and we knew from the beginning of the exhibit’s design process that we had an opportunity to deliver two important messages, one of protecting wildlife and one of protecting the environment.”
The LEED certification is based on a point scale that takes into consideration all phases of the project including design, construction and operation. The points are awarded for best practices in energy use, environmental impact, use of local resources, reduction of greenhouse gasses, sustainability as well as other factors. These point totals then result in one of four designations: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This was the goal of clr Design who was the architectural and exhibit design partner for “African Elephant Crossing” as they worked to keep the project focused and on track to achieve the LEED certification.
Among the elements that paved the way for the gold certification was the recycling of more than 90% of the construction waste, using recycled materials for a third of the construction materials, a state-of-the-art water filtration system that reduces water usage by nearly 18.8 million gallons.
It is because of the Zoo’s commitment to sustainability in regards to the African Elephant Crossing that two grants were awarded. One was a $1 million grant from the George Gund Foundation as well as a $725,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.
Northeast Ohio’s most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with hours extended to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $12.25 per person, $8.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.