• photo courtesy of Fortis Construction and Shane Kucera

Education Center, Oregon Zoo

Portland, OR

Business Type

Interpretive Center


20,000 square feet

Attracting over 1.5 million visitors a year, the Oregon Zoo offers prime community education. The Education Center offers a gathering and social place for expanded programming, housing staff offices, six classrooms, and environmental science classroom lab, and nature learning and play spaces. It’s high level of sustainability allows for an educational look at healthy building systems.



  • Net-Zero Energy
  • LEED Platinum

Special features

  • The energy-efficient design features a 216kW roof-top solar array, heat recovery ventilation, passive cooling, and radiant slab heating and cooling.
  • Built with Forest Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) wood, for a beautiful and natural finish.
  • Educational tools were built in to showcase the Net Zero Energy design, such as how visitors can see the rainwater reclamation system and learn how it collects, stores, and uses rainwater.
  • A screen displays info on how much solar energy the PV array is bringing in at any given moment, and how much energy the building is using.
  • Rooftop photovoltaic array
  • Rainwater reclamation provides water for flushing toilets
  • High performance building envelope reduces heating and cooling requirements

Blog Coverage

The Oregon Zoo Education Center Showcases Net Zero Solutions That Inspire