enhances its "green" reputation by installing a solar canopy system over the parking lot. After a long and dedicated process of zoning, financial, and political issues, the installation will be completed by April. This addition not only helps the Zoo maintain its national reputation as a "green" leader, but it will also educate visitors about green technology.
"Since we are the greenest zoo in the country, we keep pushing the envelope to maintain this status," Mark Fisher, the Director of Zoo Facilities said. "We are always asking what to do next and it will be hard to top this one."
The Zoo collaborated with Milford, Ohio based Melink Corporation
, a local leader in energy efficiency and energy renewable solutions, to install and maintain the solar canopy for seven years. At the conclusion of the $1 million contract, the Zoo has the option to buy the project.
"For the Zoo it's a win-win situation, that's why it is attractive for the Zoo to install it," Fisher said.
The solar canopy will utilize 6,400 panels that will cover 800 spots in one of the Zoo's parking lots. Once completed the canopy will provide 20% of the Zoo's energy needs. It will also educate visitors about green technology, using interactive kiosks to show how and why green technology works.
"People have the wrong perception that if you don't live in the areas like the West, solar power will not work," Fisher explained. "But this will show that it can work in a city like Cincinnati."
Fisher said word is traveling fast with other zoos contacting Cincinnati to learn more about the canopy.
"We just want to push the issue. We're using our house power to elevate the issue of using green technology," Fisher said.
The project will employ dozens of local workers and provide visitors the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with this one and only unique urban environment project.
"Nothing has been done like this in the history of the city and people are already looking for the next project." Fisher said.
Writer: Lisa Ensminger