In partnership with Seattle City Light, the Seattle Aquarium installed a 49-kilowatt-hour photovoltaic array on the roof of Pier 59. The array generates electricity for Seattle City Light’s second Community Solar project, where anyone with a Seattle City Light account can pay for one or more solar units and receive annual bill credits for the electricity generated by the project. Some of this sustainable electricity is also received directly by the Aquarium. To view how much power the Community Solar project is generating at the Seattle Aquarium, click here.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Seattle Aquarium Green Team includes LEED professionals with national standing and membership with the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s Green Scientific Advisory Group.
The Aquarium has been awarded five stars, the highest rating, from the King County EnviroStars program for superior management of toxic wastes.