Composting and recycling
The Seattle Aquarium currently diverts about 70 percent of our solid waste into composting and recycling (approximately 54 tons of compost and 22 tons of recycling per year).
Solar hot water
On the south-facing wall of Pier 59 are five glass solar panels which absorb the sun's energy to preheat water used by our café. This lowers the amount of natural gas needed by the café, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2.5 tons annually. This collaborative project is made possible with funding and support from Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy, both recognized as national leaders in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.
Energy efficiency upgrades
The Aquarium has completed an investment-grade audit of its energy and water systems and anticipates upgrades that will result in thousands of dollars of savings per year in energy and water costs, including LED lighting, advanced utility control systems, new windows and insulation, water efficiency strategies, and others.
Ackerley Foundation Puget Sound Hall
Many sustainability practices were incorporated in the construction of the Aquarium’s Puget Sound Hall and café, including the use of cold saltwater for cooling, natural ventilation/lighting, use of recycled materials, sustainable forestry timbers, and water conservation measures.
Seattle Aquarium café/catering
Sodexo, our café/catering partner, has been recognized year after year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes as a global leader in sustainability performance. The café composts all organic materials, cutting trash by over 75 percent since November of 2010. Grease/waste oils are also utilized for reuse.
Seattle Aquarium gift shop
Even before Seattle’s plastic bag ban took effect, our gift shop eliminated them—and now sells thousands of the popular reusable “UseLess” bags to visitors.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
The Seattle Aquarium Green Team includes LEED professionals with national standing and membership with the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s Green Scientific Advisory Group.
Climate change/ocean acidification (CC/OA)
In 2010 the Seattle Aquarium board of directors passed a “Climate Change and Ocean Acidification Commitment” underscoring our desire to utilize green practices as much as possible in the operation of our facility, while prompting our visitors to help us “walk the talk.” We actively participate in CC/OA research and outreach via our partnership with NOAA, the UW and Oregon Climate Change Research Institute scientists to test state-of-the art instruments to monitor OA worldwide.
The Aquarium has been awarded five stars, the highest rating, from the King County EnviroStars program for superior management of toxic wastes.
Carbon Capturing Companies (C3)
We are among the founding partners of the Forterra “Carbon Capturing Companies” (C3) program in Washington to reduce our state’s carbon footprint and mitigate CO2 rise by funding the planting of thousands of trees a year in the region.