Goal Update

Baseline: 18,137 MtCO2e

Q3 2020: 21,456 MtCO2e

Goal (2021): 15,400 MtCO2e

Recent Achievements

Lozier Giant Screen Theater Energy Upgrades

In 2018, all lights in the Lozier Giant Screen Theater were replaced with LED lights. New sound system, carpets, and filters were installed. The new projector is now more energy efficient and requires less cooling. The old and inefficient chiller was removed, and cooling responsibility was transferred to the more efficient central plant.

Solar Array

In 2017, the Zoo installed a 25 KW solar array at the Skyfari Landing to generate clean electricity and provide shade for guests. In partnership with the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Zoo received a grant for the array, which is expected to provide 100% of the electricity needs for lion viewing, overnight Safari campus, and restrooms at Game Management Headquarters for over half the year. This effort was greeted with praise from the press.

LED Lighting Upgrades

LED lights reduce energy consumption and are an efficient return on investment as the reduced energy costs rapidly offset the increased bulb cost and reduce emissions. The Zoo continues to upgrade lighting to LEDs using the its Green Load Fund program. Several projects have been completed in the following exhibits and buildings, saving the Zoo thousands of dollars annually:

  • Mahoney Kingdoms of the Night
  • Durham Lodge and Birthday House
  • Hubbard Gorilla Valley
  • Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium
  • Parking lot lights, improving lighting for safety

Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)

be installed in the Walter Scott Aquarium and Tree Tops Restaurant using the Zoo’s Green Loan Fund. VFDs help reduce energy use and can reduce machine maintenance by running motors more efficiently. The Energy and Water Management Team will continue to monitor these buildings to identify energy savings.

Upcoming Projects

Rad-burro Pilot

The Zoo is purchasing two fully-electric tricycles from Rad Power Bikes. These tricycles come with a trailer bed that can carry maintenance equipment. Based on the results of this pilot, the Zoo will assess the role this equipment can play in replacing gas-powered vehicles for maintenance needs.

Thermal-imaging drone

The Zoo is purchasing a thermal-imaging drone in 2020. This drone will be shared among several departments for varying purposes. The thermal-imaging equipment will be used to find energy-loss across the Zoo’s campus.

Outdoor LED Lighting Upgrades

Building on the success of the parking lot light LED upgrade, the Zoo will up upgrade additional outdoor lighting with energy efficient LEDs to improve security and reduce energy use. Four projects were identified for 2020. They are:

  • The entrance boulevard
  • The north gate
  • The drop-off area
  • The plaza near the main gate

Emissions Versus Energy Consumption

Although greenhouse gas emissions have increased from the baseline, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is making significant progress on energy efficiency. Annual energy use per square foot has decreased approximately 20% from a 2009-2011 baseline. Emissions increased primarily due to an increase in the emissions factor of Omaha Public Power District’s electricity.


An emissions factor is the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent released per unit energy produced. With a higher carbon intensity per unit of energy, the emissions associated with the Zoo’s electricity consumption can increase even with declining energy use.

Our Goals