The Smithsonian’s National Zoo strives to be a conservation leader in everyday Zoo operations and new facilities, including: employing recycling technologies; using alternative energy; and establishing environmentally sound materials and practices.
The Life Support System building and holding areas are located adjacent to the Seal and Sea Lion exhibit pools and beaches. The building is a water-processing plant and uses various primary and secondary water filtration and treatment operations. It houses staff, animals, and equipment areas that support animal care, water quality monitoring and exhibit support equipment. It encompasses:
There are four Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) pumps supporting the sea lion pools and two VFD pumps supporting the seal pools. This allows the entire system to be monitored electronically through a computer control program that adjusts the water treatment and flow rates accordingly. If, for example, there is a fluctuation in the bio-load on the pools (such as trees losing their leaves) the pumps can be adjusted accordingly. This system provides tremendous energy efficiency by using no more electric energy than necessary.