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Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo Toyota Elephant Passage

In June 2012, the Denver Zoo achieved LEED® Platinum certification, the highest level, from the U.S. Green Building Certification Institute for their Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit. The Toyota Elephant Passage is the first large animal exhibit in the country to achieve this certification.

Greengrade® – LEED Management Software™ was used to simplify the LEED certification process for the exciting new sustainable complex at the Denver Zoo that uses renewable energy, recycled water, natural daylight and ventilation, efficient heating and cooling systems, and other green design and construction practices.

Innovation played a key role at the new $50-million Toyota Elephant Passage, where a biomass gasification system turns human trash and animal waste into energy. The gasification system converts 98% of the waste stream into 85% of the usable energy needed to power the exhibit. Using the technology of gasification, this system is expected to save the Denver Zoo $150,000 a year in energy and waste hauling costs. The zoo’s landfill contributions will also be reduced by 1.5 million pounds per year to near its goal of becoming a “zero-waste” facility.

In addition, the10-acre project features a state-of-the-art water filtration system, which recycles most of the 1.1 million gallons of water running through the outdoor pools. This closed-loop filtration system increases efficiency by using recycled water provided by Denver Water.

To continue on the path of innovation, Greengrade – LEED Management Software was used on the Toyota Elephant Passage project by a team led by Kiewit Building Group as a way to improve efficiency and save costs compared to traditional LEED administration methods. Greengrade was implemented to assist with the organization of LEED-related support documentation, resulting in substantial time savings for the project team.

"Our team has formed strategies, assigned tasks, attached project data, and other support documents all within Greengrade's web-based software." - Celeste Davis, Kiewit Building Group

“Our team started using Greengrade in October 2011 and has formed strategies, assigned tasks, attached product data, and other support documentation all within Greengrade’s web-based software,” said Celeste Davis with Kiewit Building Group. “Furthermore, the team took full advantage of the Resources tab. In this area, we had the opportunity to access checklists, credit language, resources and a documentation toolkit from LEED User to further assist in the credit interpretation process.”

“We are pleased that Greengrade was chosen to help manage the LEED process for this exciting and unique project that has achieved the first LEED certification for a large animal exhibit complex in the nation,” said Mike Stuart, President of Greengrade. “You can imagine the many challenges of managing all the tasks and documentation needed for credits on a gold or platinum level project, and with the assistance of Greengrade software, the project team was successful at creating a very efficient LEED process.”

The Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit opened in late spring 2012 and houses Asian elephants, Indian rhinos, Malayan tapirs, clouded leopards, white checked gibbons, and several other Asian species.

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