Energy Management and Lighting, Green Building, Heating and Cooling, Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Major Bronx Zoo Energy Upgrade to Benefit Animals and the Bottom Line

One of the largest zoos in the U.S. isn’t monkeying around when it comes to sustainability!

The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced the completion of mechanical work to the heating system at the Bronx Zoo, marking a significant upgrade to the beloved zoo’s infrastructure.

The Bronx Zoo has a 265-acre footprint and is home to over 11,000 animals. The major upgrade to its cogeneration power plant—which provides heat to several facilities across the zoo—will reduce energy and maintenance costs by nearly $500,000 annually in city operations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,100 metric tons, and help future-proof the zoo for decades to come.

Additional improvements to the heating infrastructure, which will upgrade the lining of the zoo’s heating pipelines to extend the useful life of the existing infrastructure, are expected to be complete in winter 2025.

Many of the zoo’s wildlife inhabitants will benefit from this new heating system, including gibbons, crocodiles, and otters that depend on this new upgraded system to maintain their enclosures’ specific environmental needs. Other exhibits supported by this heating system include the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Carter Giraffe Building, World of Birds, the Reptile House, the Monkey House, the Zoo Center, and various additional buildings across the zoo.

“This initiative not only reduces energy costs but also underscores our dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing New York’s environmental goals for a cleaner, greener future for all, including our furry, scaly, and feathery friends,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock.

Through partnerships with NYPA and the engineering-architecture firm Ramboll, DCAS is implementing a new $17 million heating system at the Bronx Zoo. This project helps create energy efficiency by replacing the cogeneration plant’s pumps, waste-heat recovery units, fluid coolers, and controls. NYPA has also installed an energy management system to oversee the plant as part of the project, as well as rehabilitated some of the zoo’s water infrastructure, ensuring reliable delivery of hot water from the cogeneration system to 13 of the zoo’s buildings.

“The Bronx Zoo, one of New York’s most cherished institutions, continues to further its legacy of conservation and sustainability with a suite of energy-efficient improvements,” said NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll.

The project advances environmental goals of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act, and New York City’s Local Law 97, which set emissions and energy targets for most of the city’s largest buildings.

Photos courtesy of NYC DCAS

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