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Subject:   SEATTLE CITY LIGHT WARMS PENGUINS' NEW HOME WITH EFFICIENT HEATING
For Immediate Release:   
4/22/2009  5:30:00 PM
For More Information Contact:
Scott Thomsen  (206) 386-4233

 

Partnership With Woodland Park Zoo Showcases Environmentally Friendly Features

SEATTLE - Penguins don't fly, but they are taking energy efficiency to new heights.

Through a partnership with Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, Woodland Park Zoo's new Humboldt penguin exhibit maximizes sustainable design with geothermal heating and cooling, and innovative closed-loop water filtration systems that reduce energy and water consumption.

"In the wild, Humboldt penguins are threatened by many factors, including climate change," City Light Conservation Director Bob Balzar said. "At Woodland Park's penguin exhibit, more than 1 million visitors each year will be able to learn about energy efficiency measures the zoo is using and how they can put them to work at their homes and businesses."

"Reducing energy consumption can avoid greenhouse gas emissions that are connected to climate change," he said. "So visitors will be learning how they can directly impact wildlife conservation through their actions at home."

"We hope the new exhibit's sustainable design and the playfulness of our penguins inspire a new generation of conservationists," said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo's President and CEO. "Woodland Park Zoo is grateful to Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities for partnering with us in this project that helps the zoo carry out our mission of conservation and education."

The exhibit, which opens to the public May 2, uses geothermal heating and cooling, an innovative filtration system, capturing and recycling of stormwater to conserve tap water and prevent runoff into surrounding streams.

Those features will save 3 million gallons of water and nearly 22,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. That's the equivalent of saving 24 million pints of drinking water, and heating five, new two-bedroom townhouses each year.

The earth's own geothermal capacity will heat and cool the penguin pool water. Humboldt penguins' ideal water temperature is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the earth's temperature 100 feet below the exhibit is 55 degrees. Deep tubes will use the earth's thermal reserves to temper the penguin pool water appropriately, cooling it in summer and heating it in winter.

The geothermal heating system was installed using a $64,000 grant from Seattle City Light. Seattle Public Utilities provided about $204,000 for the water systems that keep the penguins' new home clean without dramatically increasing water usage or wastewater.

The exhibit transports zoo visitors to the desert coast of Punta San Juan - home of the largest colony of wild Humboldt penguins in Peru. The 17,000-square-foot naturalistic home features shoreline cliffs, viewable entrances to nesting burrows, rocky pools, crashing waves and beaches.

 

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Seattle City Light is a publicly owned utility dedicated to exceeding our customers' expectations in producing and delivering low cost, reliable power in an environmentally responsible and safe way. We are committed to delivering the best customer service experience of any utility in the nation.

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