In recent years, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) has been establishing increasingly ambitious goals to make the Detroit Zoo more sustainable. This week, it set its highest benchmark yet.
DZS announced that by 2021, the zoo will be 100 percent powered by Michigan-made renewable energy.
Much of the energy will come from wind and solar sources. The Royal Oak–located zoo is enrolling in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program, where users pay extra to fund expansion of renewable energy sources around the state. DTE announced in July this year that it’s building out three new wind parks, set to be finished by the end of 2020, largely funded after Ford, General Motors, and the University of Michigan opted into the program.
DZS is currently on a “Green Journey” will to improve the health and sustainability of its animals and the region. The organization, which runs the Detroit Zoo (as well as the Belle Isle Nature Center), is in the process of revamping operations at its facilities. It’s already expanded its recycling program, phased out water bottles, added permeable surfaces, and begun converting animal waste to compost.
It also claims to be the first zoo in the country to install a Smartflower, a ground-mounted solar panel system that tracks the sun and looks like a flower.
“Our commitment to sustainability is integrated into everything we do, from our environmentally responsible operations to our community-wide education programs,” Ron Kagan, CEO of the DZS, said in a release.