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e2 Business Highlight: Tracy Aviary

Salt Lake City’s e2 Business Program is a free consulting and marketing program for Salt Lake City businesses run out of the Sustainability Department. The program is dedicated to helping Salt Lake’s business community run in a more environmentally and economically sustainable manner. We take pride in recognizing the achievements of our members! If you are interested in joining the program or browsing current members, please visit our e2 Business webpage.

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Tracy Aviary, one of the nation’s only free-standing aviaries, will be marking its 83rd anniversary this year. Over the past decades, the iconic landmark in the heart of Liberty Park has become a leader in environmental education and conservation.  

Tracy Aviary goes above and beyond their work with bird conservation, emphasizing local ecosystem conservation efforts through community science programs, as well as participating in critical global species conservation work. Moreover, Tracy Aviary has been taking steps towards reducing their own environmental impact.

Photo of front of Tracy Aviary Visitors center with lights shining behind copper metal façade.

A longtime member of the e2 Business Program, Tracy Aviary has marked several sustainability milestones such as the addition of 18kW of on-site solar energy, as well as a 67% recycling diversion rate. One recent achievement is in realizing their 2018 goal of reducing energy consumption by more than 10% in 2019 and 2020.

“Reducing our energy consumption and focusing on sustainable energy is one of the ways we can make the biggest impact when combating climate change. Slowing climate change not only helps native birds, who are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, but all the plants and animals we share our ecosystems with.

Tracy Aviary approached their energy efficiency goal by adding thermostats to space heaters on their grounds, and using them more selectively during the colder months. In human-occupied spaces, lighting systems now operate on motion sensors, and in bird-occupied spaces, lights are set on a timer. The meaningful impact of these actions is evidenced in the notable energy savings Tracy Aviary has demonstrated in the past two years, including a 13% reduction in 2020.    

“One thing we noticed was that the space heaters we use in bird spaces were consuming a lot of energy by running all the time. Our Aviculture, Bird Show, and Maintenance teams worked to install thermometers and thermostats anywhere we used space heaters so that they only ran when necessary. We also made sure all of our indoor lighting for birds was on timers. Not only did this help us save energy, the consistent temperatures and day/night cycles are really beneficial for our birds!”

Photo of one of Tracy Aviary's Chilean flamingos.

This year Tracy Aviary also set a goal to improve the sustainability profile of their Bird Feeder Café. They’ve since reduced deliveries to the café in an effort to lower the associated emissions, arranged for food waste to be taken to Wasatch Resource Recovery, and enhanced recycling signage for patrons. They are also monitoring their ratio of trash to recycling dumped, about 4 to 1, and are working to decrease the amount of landfilled waste they produce. 

Photo of Tracy Aviary's Bird Feeder Café. The building is constructed out of yellow and blue shipping containers. There is a small rock climbing wall in front for children. Pine and cottonwood trees surround the building.

Tracy Aviary aims to go even further by improving the sustainability of the café menu itself. Other e2 businesses such as Hogle Zoo have earned Green Restaurant Association certification by meeting environmental sustainability standards including waste reduction, sustainable menus, and environmentally safe packaging. Tracy Aviary is currently evaluating their Bird Feeder Café against similar metrics, with plans to implement new policies in the near future.   

Tracy Aviary’s future targets include continued energy efficiency enhancements as it relates to natural gas consumption, as well as improvements to their irrigation systems for water conservation. They also aim to increase employee and community participation with education efforts and environmental actions including the Clear the Air Challenge, Eco Lent, Plastic Free July, and neighborhood clean-ups. Congratulations to Tracy Aviary for their continued sustainability leadership in Salt Lake City!  

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