However this task won’t be easy. Keeping 32,500 animals healthy, happy and well-lit takes a lot of energy. Part zoo, part art space, the building is a life-support system for 1,500 species operating under the parameters of just about every time zone on the planet.

John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois

John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois

“What we’re talking about is bigger than the Shedd,” said Mark Harris, president and CEO of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, which led the consortium that developed Shedd’s energy saving plan.

Following a plan developed pro bono by a public-private consortium, Shedd plans to swap out light bulbs, buy solar panels and sell “negawatts” (getting paid to power down). The aquarium plans to participate in a program that pays big energy users to power down on days when the electric grid is strained by demand from air conditioners. But first that means finding out what in the aquarium can be safely powered down.

“The Shedd’s in a unique position. It’s been there for 100 years and it’s going to be there for another 100 more; so, when you look at a 15-year return on investment, that’s not too bad,” Hulsebosch said.

Read the whole story:  Citizens Utility Board, “Shedd Aquarium looks to slice energy bill