The Akron Zoo has achieved LEED v4 certification for its two new areas, Landon & Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa and Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Some of the sustainable and green practices used in Pride of Africa and Wild Asia include light pollution reduction, bird strike prevention on glass, a building automation system, heat island reduction, storm water retention systems, interpretive education signage and more.
Pride of Africa opened in June 2019 and Wild Asia opened in May 2021. The two areas were both part of a combined $17 million capital project. Pride of Africa features African lions, Speke’s gazelle, a feeding area for goats and a solar-powered train. Wild Asia includes Sumatran tigers, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons.
The Akron Zoo partnered with Hasenstab Architects, GLMV Zoos, Panzica Construction and Marker Building Advisors on Pride of Africa and Wild Asia.
The zoo has two other LEED certifications. The Komodo Kingdom Education Center was the first LEED-certified structure in Summit County, and the first mixed-use certified zoo structure east of the Rocky Mountains. Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge is LEED Silver Campus certified, which was the first at a zoo in North America.