Green design: It's all happening at the San Jose zoo

San Jose's Happy Hollow Park & Zoo claims status as first U.S. amusement park to be LEED Gold-certified.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Seems pretty logical that a park would strive to be as green as possible. So, I was surprised to hear that there is only one, so far, in the United States that has earned a Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Mind you, that certification cost a cool $72 million, which is the amount of money that the city of San Jose just spent on renovating and expanding the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo.  The designation covers all of the new areas in the facility.

Here's what helped the zoo earn its badge of green design honor:

  • The construction of seven green, growing roofs that are covered with 56,000 native plant species
  • The addition of radiant heat and cooling to the buildings, which means there are no heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems inside, expect for in parts of the restaurant and medical building
  • Use of recycled water for non-potable functions
  • Porous asphalt paving (I like this one; note to husband to investigate for our own driveway)
  • Sustainable storm water management systems
  • Installation of clerestory windows, which can help reduce electricity consumption

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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