Sustainability at Brookfield Zoo

The Chicago Zoological Society has always done a wonderful job at fulfilling its mission statement – “to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature” – since the doors of the Brookfield Zoo were opened in 1934. It has built an international reputation for its cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Many of us have been to the Brookfield Zoo countless times to view the incredible animals from antelopes to zebras, and have become better environmental stewards from observing animals and nature that we would otherwise never have seen. The Zoo continues to inspire conservation leadership today, but in a way that goes unnoticed amongst the jumping dolphins and roaring lions.

The Chicago Zoological Society is increasing its sustainability efforts in unique roof construction at Brookfield Zoo. Seven to eight spray-foam roofs have been installed over existing insulated roofs, keeping the trash from the existing roofs out of landfills and increasing the R-value and reflectiveness. According to, “An insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.” By increasing the insulating effectiveness, the Zoo has lowered its energy costs. The next time you go to the Brookfield Zoo and have an ice cream cone at Nyani Ice Cream Parlor, take a look up – that roof was built to meet the new Illinois Energy Efficiency Code!


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