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Taking Green to Gold: Happy Hollow Park & Zoo is the 1st Amusement Park & Zoo to be Awarded LEED® Gold


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It’s official, after years of planning, design and construction, San Jose’s Park and Zoo has gone gold.

The $72 million renovation project of Happy Hollow Park & Zoo has been awarded LEED® gold by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the first Amusement Park & Zoo in the country to be certified LEED gold.  LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. Points were earned across six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. 

The project included renovation of the existing ride areas as well as a four-acre expansion that houses the new Zoo on the Hill, an Education complex, Entry Plaza complex, two more rides, 11 more exhibits and new play areas totaling 12, 800 sq. feet.

"The renovation of Happy Hollow is another example of San Jose’s leadership in green buildings and architecture, " said Mayor Chuck Reed. "The park’s innovative green features will show how it’s possible to reduce operating costs while promoting sustainability."

Green components include:

* Seven green (growing) roofs with native plant species to provide habitat for wildlife – 14, 000 sq. feet of open space was added to Happy Hollow on the green roofs. 56, 000 plants, on seven green roofs, were planted – averages to 8000 plants per roof.
* Radiant flooring for cooling and heating of buildings – no HVAC in buildings, with the exception of the restaurant and part of the medical building.
* Hay Bale Construction in Education Center
* Recycled water used for non-potable functions throughout facility
* Porous asphalt paving
* Sustainable storm water management – designed to keep all rainfall on site
* Clerestory windows in all buildings for lighting and heating & cooling
* Sustainable materials throughout the project
* Recycled base rock throughout the project
* Recycled glass in the entry plaza
* Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints
* The use of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood framing and recycled plastic lumber
* A total 79, 682 plants were added to the already lush landscape of Happy Hollow.

"Not just one building was certified. The certification is for all the new areas of the facility, " reports Suzanne Wolf, General Manager. "We are proud to be a green model for the nation and the Zoo and Aquarium industry, as well as the important role we play in our community as a sustainability leader."

San Jose’s Happy Hollow Park & Zoo reopened in March of this year and offers self-guided green tours of the new facility. For more information on Happy Hollow Park & Zoo’s green renovation, call Vanessa Rogier at 408-794-6404.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose has been a part of Bay Area families since it opened its’ gates in 1961. It’s a unique combination of family rides, amusements, a Puppet Theater, play areas and an accredited Zoo with over 140 animals, from endangered lemurs to miniature horses. Year round classes are offered for ages 12 months to adults as well as special events for all seasons. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo offers yearly Memberships for families and individuals.

More information can be found on their website at or by calling 408-794-6400.

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