The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has received yet another award and that is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for Cat Canyon which opened in June of 2012. This is the second highest rating that can be awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is the Cincinnati Zoo's 5th LEED certified building which is more than any other zoo or aquarium in the United States. The exhibit itself was designed by Cornette-Violetta Architects, LLC and was built by HGC Construction. Some of the highlights that let the exhibit get the award are the following: Protecting and restoring the existing natural habitat, using non-heat absorbing materials on the roof and pathways which reduce the heat island effect, reducing the water usage for irrigation by 50% and within the buildings by 30% while optimizing the energy performance with any existing building with the new HVAC equipment and new insulation on the roof among many other things. The first LEED-certified building which received the first silver-certified building in Cincinnati was the Harold C. Schott Education Center which was opened in 2006 and was followed up by Historic Vine Street Village which was opened in 2009 and received the LEED NC Platinum. With the zoo dedicated to being the greenest zoo in the United States and continuing it's efforts of going green, they show that green buildings not only help the environment but they also offer long term financial sustainability. A good example of this would be the zoo's utility bills were lowered over 4 million dollars in the last six years.
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