America’s Greenest Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, has teamed up with key partners Donovan Energy and Groundwork Ohio River Valley on an ambitious LED project to make their urban, low-income home community of Avondale the most energy-efficient neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. By gaining trust, building relationships, and connecting closely to their neighbors, the project is allowing them to share the Zoo’s deep experience and commitment to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, all while inspiring community members to go green and providing them with much needed cost savings at the same time.
Since 2017, thanks to $725,000 in grants from the Duke Class Benefit Fund, the Zoo has transitioned its campus to 100% LED and installed LED lighting in Avondale buildings, homes, churches, and outdoor areas. At least 25 commercial entities and over 100 residences have been upgraded, saving Avondale over $1 million in energy bills and maintenance within the next 5 years.
Light Up Avondale also provides Groundwork Ohio River Valley’s Green Corps, a green workforce development program for young adults, the opportunity to increase their skills in energy efficiency, data collection, customer service, and lighting technologies while connecting to the Zoo’s neighbors. The impact of Light Up Avondale goes beyond LED light bulbs. It has built strong relationships among the Zoo’s partners and their community, increased opportunity for energy efficiency and financial savings, and provided workforce development for our region’s young adults.