Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion

The Seattle Aquarium is taking a bold step to advance our conservation mission within and beyond our walls through the creation of the Ocean Pavilion. The expanded Aquarium will be an unparalleled platform for ocean conservation and serve as the magnificent centerpiece for our city’s waterfront.

Aerial view of new Ocean Pavilion and Seattle Aquarium

Today, we’re witnessing the most profound change in our planet’s ocean in the past 64 million years, and it’s happening within one human lifetime. Our generation will define what it looks like to live on Planet Earth for those who follow. Seattle can lead the way, and the expanded Aquarium will help us shed light on the urgent threats facing our ocean, mobilize a new generation of marine conservationists and create something remarkable for our city in the process.

Rendering of new Seattle waterfront Aquarium plaza and Ocean Pavilion

A respected authority on Puget Sound and Salish Sea, the Aquarium serves as the largest platform for ocean conservation and engagement in the Pacific Northwest. Through expanded partnerships and community programming we are fostering an emerging ocean ethic, increasing awareness and taking action to help preserve and protect our marine environment. The expanded Aquarium with its new Ocean Pavilion will be an unparalleled platform for ocean conservation and serve as the magnificent centerpiece for our city’s waterfront.

Sustainability is one of the core institutional values of the Aquarium. The Aquarium’s new Ocean Pavilion will have a lower Energy Use Intensity (EUI) than many of our peer institutions in the United States, making us one of the most efficient aquariums in the country. The new Ocean Pavilion is targeting LEED Gold certification.

The new Ocean Pavilion is part of a larger master plan, which includes improving our historic pier’s energy use and enhancing the facilities sustainability measures. Read more about our overall sustainability measures here.

The Ocean Pavilion is targeting LEED Gold certification.

Smart Building Design

The Aquarium’s team of sustainability, architecture and building experts have worked to ensure we design and build a pavilion that prioritizes energy efficiency, conservation, ocean health as well as resiliency. We’ve considered long-term energy use when analyzing building loads to ensure we’re building a pavilion that can withstand future climate and environmental changes.

We are being deliberate in our material choices for construction of the Ocean Pavilion by minimizing plastics, vinyl, biocides and red-list materials throughout. In addition, the project team is analyzing embodied carbon in the project and making material choices to reduce embodied carbon.

Minimizing our Operational Carbon Footprint and Energy Use

The day-to-day operations of the Ocean Pavilion will run 100% fossil fuel free.*

As an organization focused on conservation and sustainability, it is important to us that the entire Aquarium, especially our new Ocean Pavilion have as small a carbon footprint as possible. Having a small carbon footprint ultimately helps reduce ocean acidification, which is key to protecting and conserving our oceans and the animals that inhabit them.

Here’s how we’re reducing our impact:

  • Our heating and cooling systems will be completely run on electricity, provided by Seattle City Light’s clean grid.
  • We are using new heat pump technology to efficiently heat and cool the building. The heat pumps will reduce the carbon footprint that are typically associated with more traditional types of large facility heating and cooling systems, such as boilers.
  • We have a semi-closed water system for our animal life support systems that will utilize a heat exchanger to keep the water at the right temperature for the animals, reducing energy-intensive heating and cooling that older tank and aquarium systems use.
  • Our semi-closed system recirculates and recycles water through an advanced denitrification technology which will also drastically reduce our water usage volume.
  • The building will use energy-efficient LEDs throughout.

*Our back-up generators, which will only be utilized in the event of an extended loss of power, will be powered by diesel fuel. In the event that the generators are used, carbon offsets will be purchased to minimize impact.

Additional documents:

The new Ocean Pavilion is part of a larger master plan, which includes improving the existing City-owned historic pier’s energy use and enhancing the facilities sustainability measures.