ROYAL OAK, Mich.: The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) took a major step forward on its “Green Journey” today, announcing that the Detroit Zoo will be powered by 100% Michigan-made renewable energy through DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program. The move will offset 7,425 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 8,740 acres of U.S. forests in one year and is part of the DZS “Greenprint” strategic plan to continuously decrease the environmental impact of its operations. DTE will source the renewable energy from three new wind parks that will come online in late 2020.
MIGreenPower is a voluntary renewable energy program that helps DTE electric customers reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of additional wind and solar energy projects in Michigan. Enrolled customers can customize their participation and attribute up to 100% of their energy use to local wind farms and solar parks.
“Our commitment to sustainability is integrated into everything we do, from our environmentally responsible operations to our community-wide education programs,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “Joining MIGreenPower is a major step forward for us, as our power needs significantly exceed what we can produce on-site. This program helps reduce our carbon footprint while also supporting local, Michigan-made renewable energy.”
The DZS has won four green awards for its sustainability initiatives and achievements and is a nationally recognized leader in environmental education. Sustainable design features at the Detroit Zoo include permeable pavement that diverts rainwater from the storm water drains, an anaerobic digester (the first zoo-based system of its kind) that converts herbivore animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy, and the use of solar/electric hybrid golf carts and bicycles for on-site transportation. The Detroit Zoo is also the first zoo in the country to install a Smartflower, an all-in-one ground-mounted solar panel system that generates more than 4,000 kilowatts of electricity annually.
Waste reduction is also a key aspect of the DZS’s “Green Journey.” The zoo has eliminated the sale of single-use plastic water bottles as well as the use of plastic bags, straws, and lids. The DZS has also worked with DTE to complete energy efficiency upgrades in more than 50 of the Zoo’s buildings and to install Zoo-wide LED lighting.
“We are excited to welcome the Detroit Zoological Society to MIGreenPower as we all work together to protect our planet for our children and future generations,” said Jerry Norcia, president and CEO, DTE Energy. “The Zoo joins other well-known Michigan institutions including Ford, General Motors and the University of Michigan, and more than 8,300 individual residential and business customers who are using MIGreenPower to make a positive impact on the environment. This program provides an efficient way to power the Zoo with 100% renewable energy.”
MIGreenPower offers DTE customers some important advantages over individual clean energy options. It eliminates the hassle of owning and maintaining additional exterior equipment, and it is less expensive than installing a private rooftop solar system. DTE’s MIGreenPower program is on track to be one of the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the country.
DTE first launched MIGreenPower in April 2017 and introduced an expanded version of the program for large corporate and industrial customers in January. It is part of the company’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2040. DTE is developing additional MIGreenPower programs to meet diverse customer needs.
About Detroit Zoological Society
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of naturalistic habitats are home to 2,600 animals representing 228 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, renewable natural gas, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As an environmental leader, DTE will reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80 percent by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at dteenergy.com, empoweringmichigan.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com.