The Shedd Aquarium: A Sustainability Mission & Microgrid Journey

White Papers > Commercial Microgrids > The Shedd Aquarium: A Sustainability Mission & Microgrid Journey

During a presentation at Microgrid 2018, Bob Wengel, vice president of facilities at Shedd Aquarium, which is home to 32,500 animals and 1,500 different species, described the aquarium's developing microgrid and energy plant.

With a sophisticated energy management and building automation system managed by Schneider Electric and other technology providers, Shedd keeps animals, visitors and staff comfortable -- while saving energy.

Shedd also is working to cut back it's energy consumption by 50 percent by 2020.

Sustainability is important to Shedd for a variety of reasons. It helps spur innovation while mitigating energy-related risk. Sustainability is also good for business, Wengel said.

To consider what sustainability truly means to today's businesses, Wengel encouraged audience members to consider the biggest risk to their company today. For many, that's climate change. And if a company really wants to make changes and become an "energy innovator," it will need to decide who is going to be responsible for sustainability efforts in the organization and empower those individuals.

To help mitigate some of  its own risks, Shedd Aquarium developed a long-term strategic energy plan in 2012 and operationalized the plan in 2013. The plan focused on energy reduction methods, renewables and smart grid elements like demand and frequency regulation. The facility began work on its energy plant shortly after.

The energy plant at Shedd Aquarium, which was also available to tour during Microgrid 2018, includes:

  • The largest solar installation at a cultural institution in Illinois: a 265-KW rooftop system with 913 PV panels on the marine mammal pavilion
  • Sophisticated building management, metering, analytics, and energy efficiency solutions
  • A 1-MW/250-kWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system deployed for frequency regulation in the he PJM market

Download the full Microgrid 2018 presentation to learn more about the Shedd Aquarium and its sustainability and microgrid journey. 

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