Goal Update

Baseline: 18,137 MtCO2e

2024 Q2: 17,501 MtCO2e (4% decrease)

Goal: 15,400 MtCO2e

Recent Achievements

LED Conversion Project

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. In 2022 alone, the Zoo converted over 200 bulbs to LEDs in the Gorilla exhibit, elevators, stairwells, and kitchens. LEDs not only save electricity, but reduce staff time required to change lightbulbs as they last three times as long as their T8 equivalents. LEDs also replaced overhead lighting in the Jungle earlier in 2023.

Rad-burro Pilot

The Zoo purchased two fully-electric tricycles from Rad Power Bikes in early 2020. 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 select maintenance needs.

High Efficiency Boiler Installation

High efficiency boilers have been installed in the Aquarium and in the Dome which have decreased natural gas consumption significantly.  High efficiency boilers will be a part of upgrades to more buildings in the coming years.

Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)

Two VFDs were installed in the Walter Scott Aquarium and Tree Tops Restaurant using the Zoo’s Green Loan Fund in late 2019. VFDs help reduce energy use and can reduce machine maintenance by running motors more efficiently. The Energy and Water Management Team continues to monitor these buildings to identify energy savings.

Energy Water Management Team

Zoo staff meet every other month to review changes in natural gas and electricity usage (along with water consumption). For areas where usage has increased dramatically compared to previous years, staff investigate those increases in order to resolve any potential system issues, which has saved the Zoo money and resources.

Emissions Versus Energy Consumption

Although greenhouse gas emissions have decreased slightly 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 18% from a 2009-2011 baseline. Emissions increased in 2017 through 2020 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 of 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