The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS), which operates both the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Center, is a favorite destination for more than 1.3 million visitors and home to 2,600 animals representing 228 species. DSZ also is a leader in environmental sustainability and education. Now visitors, animals and all of us have yet another reason to love the Detroit Zoo.
The Zoo is using DTE’s MIGreenPower program to help meet its clean energy goals. Through the program, DTE will provide the zoo with 100% Michigan-made renewable energy! The move to MIGreenPower is part of the DZS “Greenprint” strategic plan to continuously decrease the environmental impact of its operations. DTE will source the renewable energy from three new wind parks that will come online in late 2020.
“We are excited to welcome the Detroit Zoological Society to MIGreenPower as we all work together to protect our planet for our children and future generations,” said Jerry Norcia, president and CEO, DTE Energy. “The Zoo joins other well-known Michigan institutions including Ford, General Motors and the University of Michigan, and more than 8,300 individual residential and business customers who are using MIGreenPower to make a positive impact on the environment. This program provides an efficient way to power the Zoo with 100% renewable energy.”
This isn’t the first time DTE has worked with DZS on sustainability initiatives. DTE has worked with the Zoo to complete energy efficiency upgrades in more than 50 of its buildings and helped to install LED lighting Zoo-wide.
“Our commitment to sustainability is integrated into everything we do, from our environmentally responsible operations to our community-wide education programs,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “Joining MIGreenPower is a major step forward for us, as our power needs significantly exceed what we can produce on-site. This program helps reduce our carbon footprint while also supporting local, Michigan-made renewable energy.”
The DZS has won four green awards for its sustainability initiatives and achievements and is a nationally recognized leader in environmental education. Sustainable design features at the Detroit Zoo include permeable pavement that diverts rainwater from the storm water drains, an anaerobic digester (the first zoo-based system of its kind) that converts herbivore animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy, and the use of solar/electric hybrid golf carts and bicycles for on-site transportation. The Detroit Zoo is also the first zoo in the country to install a Smartflower, an all-in-one ground-mounted solar panel system that generates more than 4,000 kilowatts of electricity annually.
MIGreenPower is a voluntary renewable energy program that helps DTE electric customers reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of additional wind and solar energy projects in Michigan. Enrolled customers can customize their participation and attribute up to 100% of their energy use to local wind farms and solar parks.
MIGreenPower offers DTE customers some important advantages over individual clean energy options. It eliminates the hassle of owning and maintaining additional exterior equipment, and it is less expensive than installing a private rooftop solar system. DTE’s MIGreenPower program is on track to be one of the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the country and is part of the company’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2040.