Denver Zoo Green Overview
“As an organization dedicated to wildlife conservation, Denver Zoo is trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible, in every facet of our organization. We’re encouraging others to do the same. It’s amazing how small changes can result in tremendous positive impact.” – Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper
Inaugural winner of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Green Award, WateReuse Customer of the Year and Bicycle Friendly Business Award are just a few of the most recent accolades for the zoo. All of these honors came after its international certification for sustainable management, called ISO- 14001, a process that commits the zoo to benchmarking its progress on sustainability in all of its operations to ensure continued improvement. Denver Zoo is the first American zoo to achieve this certification.
“Toyota Elephant Passage propels us leaps and bounds toward achieving our sustainable goals. In many ways,
the development of this exhibit has helped us become the greenest zoo in the country,” says VP for Planning and Capital Projects George Pond.
Biomass Gasification System
One of the most intriguing additions to Toyota Elephant Passage turns human trash and animal waste into energy. The gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo's waste into usable energy to power the exhibit, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually.
Denver Zoo has registered Toyota Elephant Passage with the United States Green Building Council. The entire 10-acre Toyota Elephant Passage site, which includes more than 10 major buildings, is expected to be LEED® certified at the gold or platinum level. Learn more about LEED Certification in Toyota Elephant Passage.
ELP Gold Member
Denver Zoo is a Gold Member of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Leadership Program, exemplifying outstanding commitment to environmentally-friendly business practices.
Learn more about Denver Zoo’s green overview.
Wise Water Use
A state-of-the-art water filtration system recycles most of the 1.1 million gallons of water running through
Toyota Elephant Passage. Denver Zoo also decreases irrigation and installs xeriscape vegetation to lessen
overall water demand.
Natural light through sky lights and windows decreases electric lighting use throughout the interior buildings of the
exhibit. Six zoo buildings utilize Solatube®, an innovative system that reflects sunlight to provide natural, clean light
into a space. Plus, UV rays drawn from natural daylight are important to the health of our animal collection.
Radiant-heated floor systems retain heat at lower elevations of a room longer than traditional HVAC systems. They will last the life of the building without requiring maintenance, and save energy, money and time for repairs. They will also be used in several outdoor spaces, providing a safe walking environment for guests and animals during winter months.
Extra ventilation was installed to improve indoor air quality. Monitoring systems sound an alarm when air
conditions or temperatures vary by 10 percent. All carpets, paints, coatings and adhesives used in Toyota Elephant
Passage are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), making them better for human and animal health as well
as the environment.
Lighting, heating and cooling systems will be controlled independently. This allows a worker to turn on a task light
in a specific area rather than having to turn on lights to an entire building.
Roofs and hardscapes were installed with light colors to help reflect sunlight, which reduces cooling costs.