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Akron Zoo is LEED-ing the community in green energy and design standards

The Wild Asia exhibit at Akron Zoo
Akron Zoo
The Wild Asia exhibit, one of the newest exhibits at Akron Zoo, has received the highest standard of LEED certification there is.

The Akron Zoo has received LEED certification, Leader in Energy and Environmental Design, for its two newest exhibits.

Zoo CEO Doug Piekarz says it’s recognition that both the Pride of Africa and Wild Asia exhibits were built with the highest energy and environmental design standards as rated by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Piekarz on LEED at the zoo I

“The value of actually leveraging LEED on our construction, it helps us demonstrate through a third party that we’re actually doing what we say we are doing with trying to put our mission first even where we’re building things," Piekarz said.

This includes using recycled construction material to reduce waste, using light colored materials like concrete that reflect less heat and carefully angled light sources that don’t spill out into the night sky which can affect migratory birds.

Pride of Africa exhibit at Akron Zoo
Akron Zoo
One of the exhibits at Akron Zoo that received LEED certification is Pride of Africa.

The zoo is also using an in-house water-filtration system to refill its ponds instead of drawing on city water.

The Akron Zoo was one of the first zoos in the nation and also the first in Summit County to receive LEED certification for their Komodo Kingdom Education Center.

Piekarz hopes to eventually convert the entire zoo into a LEED certified space.

Jay Shah is a broadcast journalist finishing her Master of Arts degree at Kent State University. She joined WKSU as a news intern in 2020 and now works as a freelance producer for Ideastream Public Media’s daily local news headlines.