Post-AZA Press ReleaseSeptember 26, 2011 | By Maurielle Balczon
Collaboration for a better environment was the theme spearheaded by architect Van H. Gilbert and his affiliates at this year’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conference. Together with the energy solutions team at Johnson Controls (JCI) and strategic account development firm Wayne O’Neill & Associates (WOA), Van and his collaborators delivered an energy conservation initiative to an audience of national zoo and aquarium directors.
The energy audits capture potential energy savings which, if realized, can be reallocated to fund construction of new zoo and aquarium exhibits. What makes this initiative particularly unique is the ability of participating institutions to borrow funds from cooperating financial institutions to finance the initial energy audit, and then repay the loan from the realized yearly savings on energy costs. This no up-front cost method means that the program is feasible for all institutions. Choosing to partake in the energy audits and implementing their respective recommendations is recognition of the key role zoos and aquariums must assume in conserving animals of the world, their habitat, and the environment we all live in.
The Van H. Gilbert Architect (VHGA) and Johnson Controls (JCI) relationship is a unique pairing of JCI’s expertise in the intricacies of energy consumption and VHGA’s expertise in the intricacies of zoo and aquarium animals, operations and exhibit design. The two forces were brought together by intermediary connector, Wayne O’Neill & Associates (WOA). WOA’s knack for strategic development and collaborative opportunities provided the perfect backdrop for developing this creative solution. The combined experience of Van H. Gilbert Architects, Johnson Controls and Wayne O’Neill & Associates means the energy audits will be based on unique strategic and tactical knowledge of the needs of the animal population, visitors, keepers, and administration.