The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) recently announced 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 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.
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.
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.