Zoo Map

Green Operations


Implementing Green Practices

Green practices are those that pursue knowledge and processes that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.

The Akron Zoo sees sustainability and green initiatives as a way to demonstrate the zoo’s core conservation mission through the daily work of staff. The zoo recognizes that our everyday decisions either help save species in the wild, or create conditions that foster their endangerment.

We believe that being “green” is a process of decision making at all levels of the organization; it is not a destination that we will ever arrive at. Sustainability requires constant adjustment, change, and improvement as new opportunities, practices or technologies are developed. We began our journey two decades ago with the formation of our Green Team. Since that time we have achieved many successes and work to continuously expand our sustainability efforts in a myriad of ways.


AZP aspires to be a net-zero energy consumer of electricity

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Converting the parking lot security lights to LED cost $25,000 and had a 2.5yr ROI. Since 2012 $550,000 of energy efficiency improvements have been made. 1,900 new LED lights cover 70% of our park and save 716,130 kWh every day, keeping an average of 1.2 billion pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere per year.
  • In 2011, became an official Green Energy producer. Our solar array produces 7.48 kWh of power daily and has saved over 259,000 lbs. of CO2 from the atmosphere in 5 years.
  • Ground source heat pump of sixty-three 350 foot deep wells, and variable frequency drives on all the heat pumps. It reduces Komodo Kingdom Education Center building (36,000 sqft) HVAC costs by 40%, and is the first of its size in our county.

Water Management  

AZP’s water aspiration was to reduce consumption by 50% but since 2009 we have reduced it by 82%

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Shrunk domestic water usage to 4% consumption, by installing low flow faucets, toilets, and waterless urinals, saving an estimated 260,000 gallons annually on the urinals alone.
  • Water filter and recirculation systems save 8,000-10,000 gallons of water per month.
  • Landscape plantings and new construction prioritize xeriscape and native plants to reduce the need for irrigation and provide improved habitat for wildlife.
  • Total of water saved annually: 74,397,913 gallons; Total saved since 2009: 307,633,099 gallons.

Chemical Management  

The Akron Zoo aspires to purchase environmentally sensitive products, support green vendors and improve chemical management

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • 95% of in-stock paint is low/no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound).
  • 99% of the zoo is serviced with certified green chemicals through State Chemical.
  • 100% of the park utilizes integrated pest management with bio-controls (such as ladybugs) to reduce chemicals and control weeds and pests.

Waste Management  

The Akron Zoo aspires to become a zero-waste park. We continually engage in training and education with our staff and the visitors coming to the park.

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Komodo Kingdom Café is the 1st 4-star green certified restaurant in a North American zoo, and has reusable flatware and dishware, and compost/recycling/trash sorting stations. Awarded in April of 2012, third party certification verifies the green practices we employ. This includes 100% diversion of all organic waste.
  • Zoo sponsored events and rentals are ‘zero-waste’ events, allowing no styrofoam, or plastic flatware to be brought on site.
  • We have diverted about 3.6 million pounds of organic waste from the land fill since April 2011.

Purchasing Policy  

The Akron Zoo aspires to purchase environmentally-sensitive products and support green vendors.

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Gift shop features local and fair trade items. We promote the green products in the shop.
  • Komodo Kingdom Café uses local foods, vegetarian fare, sustainable equipment, green cleaning agents and other aspects.
  • Finance and IT department use Staples for green preferred items; installed Xerox ColorQube for the vegetable-based wax ink used throughout the zoo, eliminating 640 pounds of trash from the waste stream.

Combustion Engine Fuels  

The Akron Zoo aspires to reduce the usage of gasoline and motor oil by 50% by the year 2020.

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Since 2011, we have worked with Renewable Lubricants, a local company, to replace 100% of petroleum based products in our fleet (including motor oil, 3 cycle engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and other lubricating oils) – this reduces carbon, supports local business and reduces costs because products last longer and spills are non-hazardous.
  • Purchased six electric utility vehicles, and installed solar panels on top for trickle charge.
  • The zoo initiated a “no idling” policy with associated signage in 2011.


We build to one of the highest green standards in building and exhibit design.

Efforts and Accomplishments:

  • Conservation Carousel: Built with sustainably harvested bass wood, uses only LED lights, and manufactured locally. One ride uses less power than a hair dryer.
  • Komodo Kingdom Education Building: The first mixed-use LEED certified zoo structure east of the Rockies (a structure including large animal exhibits, large aquarium spaces, classrooms, and a restaurant), and the first LEED structure in our county. The first 4-star green certified restaurant in any zoo or aquarium in North America.
  • Mike and Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge Exhibit: Green roof on bear viewing building adds an insulating layer to the building. Exhibit is LEED Silver Campus certified, the first one at a North American zoo. 85-90% of the waste from the project was recycled. Reclaimed wood, metal, and plant materials were incorporated into the project.