The Minnesota Zoo is incorporating environmentally friendly design into its exhibits and buildings.
Education Event Center
The Education Event Center is built into Russia’s Grizzly Coast and serves as a meeting space. This “green” building was built according to Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines and has been awarded LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Green features include:
- The building has a vegetative roof with native plantings over white roof membrane.
- A geothermal heat pump system utilizes earth temperatures for heating and cooling.
- The majority of products used in construction were manufactured within 500 miles.
- Carpet tiles, wall and floor porcelain tiles, glass wall tiles, countertops, furniture, and the building’s concrete structure contain recycled content.
- The building has operable low E, argon-filled wood windows and high-efficiency, low-energy prismatic lighting.
- The building has natural and non-mechanical ventilation systems.
- Forest Stewardship Council-certified agrifiber wainscot paneling covers the inside walls.
- Doors are made of certified wood and have domestic hardwood veneers.
- High-efficiency hand dryers in the bathrooms eliminate towel waste.
- Resource efficient plumbing fixtures were utilized.
- The building’s paperless gypsum wall panels resist mold/mildew growth.
Other green features of Russia’s Grizzly Coast include:
- All concrete used for construction contained fly ash, an industry waste product that would have ended up in the landfill.
- Much of the granular fill that serves as a base for concrete throughout the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit consists of recycled and reground debris.
- Floors and walls in all off-exhibit animal areas were coated with low volatile organic chemical (VOC), water-born epoxies—a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional coatings.
- Many buildings are earth sheltered, providing natural insulation.
- In addition to the Environmental Event Center (above), the Life Support Building has a partial “green,” or vegetative, roof.
- All off-exhibit animal and keeper areas were built with skylights to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
Other green design features throughout the Zoo include:
- ‘Plastic wood’, made from recycled plastic milk containers, was used to construct the Farmhouse porch deck at the Wells Fargo Family Farm.
- Much of the Tropics Trail is naturally lit with skylights, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
- Numerous exterior doors have been replaced with more weather-efficient doors.
- A vestibule was constructed in the Main Building Complex to create an air lock, thus increasing heating and cooling efficiency.