Friday, September 22, 2023

Cincinnati Zoo’s Roo Valley earns USGBC award for green animal exhibit

The Roo Valley project at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Ohio’s Leadership Award for Green Building of the Year – New Construction category.

“We are both honored and humbled by this recognition. We have no doubt about the caliber of submissions and to be selected by the jury is truly amazing. On behalf of myself and everyone at the zoo, thanks to the USGBC, the jury and all the other candidates,” said Dean Violetta, Cincinnati Zoo’s director of planning and exhibit design.

Roo Valley, which opened in 2020, is a LEED Platinum certified 4-acre habitat that incorporates best practices for Animal Excellence, provides an inspiring guest experience and pushes the boundaries on Sustainable Design and Operation. Connecting people with nature is vital to the zoo’s mission and this new habitat features a walk-through kangaroo habitat and underwater viewing of little blue penguins. Roo Valley is an integral part of the Cincinnati Zoo’s 2025 Master Plan to achieve Net Zero Energy, Water and Waste.

“When you look at Roo Valley, you might notice a habitat built into the hillside, respecting the nature around it. However, underneath and around Roo Valley, systems are constantly working to provide fresh water and renewable energy to support the zoo, building and naturalized habitats of the animals and guests to enjoy,” says Mark Fisher, the zoo’s vice president of facilities and sustainability.

The Zoo plans to take its sustainability efforts to the next level, with help from its official water sustainability partner, Roto-Rooter. One-million-gallon stormwater retention tanks will be installed under its future Elephant Trek habitat and will move the zoo closer to its goal to be Net Zero by 2025.

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