National Aquarium in Baltimore
501 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Central Maryland
The mission of the National Aquarium is to inspire the conservation of the world's aquatic treasures.
Management and Leadership
We use the following best management practices:
bulletEnvironment Policy Statement
bulletEnvironmental Team: The Aquarium has an Internal Conservation Committee (ICC), a team that meets monthly to discuss and implement ways to incorporate green practices within the Aquarium’s everyday activities and operations. The committee is comprised of Aquarium employees from various departments of the institution including: Biological Programs, Development, Accounting, Facilities, Custodial, Marketing, Education, Visitor Services, Exhibits & Design, and Communications. Selected individuals of these departments perform leadership roles in seven subcommittees of the ICC: Recycling, Programs, Communications, Internal Practices, Contract Services, Investigations, and Staff Awareness. These subcommittees are supported by members of Aquarium staff who are responsible for carrying out goals that shape a superior focus. The objectives of the ICC are to identify and implement best practices that match the conservation mission of the Aquarium; actively promote, recognize and celebrate conservation‐minded activities among staff; and be the communication hub/conduit for in‐house conservation actions. Both the steering committee and the committee meet monthly.
bulletSet Annual Goals: At the end of each calendar year the ICC and its subcommittee leaders meet to evaluate the preceding year accomplishments in addition to developing new focuses for the upcoming year. During this gathering the ICC develops a document with a maximum of five focuses and an action plan to implement them. Each focus is evaluated by its 1 conservation goal, departmental support needed, timeline, and budget. Once approved the idea is broken down into smaller achievable goals and objectives to be implemented by the ICC subcommittees.
bulletWe have a purchasing policy to encourage the purchase of environmentally-friendly products and services
bulletList of our environmentally friendly products and services: The ICC subcommittees Contract Services and Internal Practices work to decrease the impact of our business practices on the environment including activities with facility improvements/renovations, fleet coordination, and our vendor/contractors. The committees work with Aquarium staff to develop, coordinate, and update Best Management Practices. They stay on top of trends and work closely with the Investigations ICC subcommittee to research and facilitate implementation of new practices. Their goal is to ensure that every internal practice is reviewed and a thoughtful/green choice is made including partnerships with our most prominent partners: Classic Catering People and Sodexo. More specifically, these committees have ensured recycling occurs at all Catered Events with our partnered food vendors; confirms the coffee our food vendors sell is fair trade, organic, and bird friendly; reassesses items sold at the gift shop (where they come from, what they are made of, etc.); and monitors progress of replacing cleaning products with environmental friendly options.
bulletEnvironmental Restoration or Community Environmental Projects: The National Aquarium promotes conservation through research and action projects designed to restore, protect, and manage critical species or ecosystems. Under leadership of the Conservation Department and a core group of volunteers, the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), the Aquarium provides hands‐on opportunities for volunteers to restore habitats and increase environmental awareness in Bay Communities through the Chesapeake Bay Initiative. The goal of this action‐based program is to foster awareness, inspire leadership, and promote stewardship of aquatic habitats. Since its establishment in 1999 more than 150 acres of wetland forests, marshes, sand dunes, and riparian buffers have been restored with the assistance of 8,000 volunteers. Volunteers include individuals from various environmental groups, school students, scout groups and community volunteers. These volunteers have removed more than 500,000 pieces of marine debris from the Aquarium’s field station at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and planted more than 1.5 million native plants creating vital habitat promoting a healthy diverse ecosystem. The Conservation Department continues to provide restoration opportunities to both the Aquarium Staff and community volunteers. The most current restoration projects are listed on the Aquarium’s website ( in an effort to reach out and recruit individuals/environmental groups to participate.
Waste Reduction
We use the following best management practices:
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property waste
bulletTrack overall waste bills and established baseline data for quantity of wastes produced
bulletPerformed a waste stream audit to determine baseline waste data and identify waste reduction opportunities
bulletSet a numeric goal of overall waste reduction
Kitchen and Prep / Dining / Catering / Meetings and Events / Campground Snack Bar
bulletCompost food waste and other compostables
bulletUse effective food inventory control to minimize waste
bulletPurchase locally grown produce and other foods
bulletPurchase organic foods
bulletPurchase sustainably grown foods
bulletDo not use polystyrene coffee cups
bulletUse disposable food service items are eco-friendly - polystyrene is avoided
bulletIf disposable containers are used, they are made from - bio-based materials, recycled content, and/or compostable material
bulletUse reusable dishware and glassware and minimize use of disposables
bulletUse non-bleached napkins and coffee filters
bulletProvide condiments - (cream and sugar, etc.) in bulk
bulletUse water pitchers and filtered water to minimize the use of single-use bottles
bulletUse menus and table placards as opportunity to communicate green activities
bulletProvide organic, local or sustainable food choices
bulletUse Maryland Green Travel logo or other emblem to indicate organic, local or sustainable menu choices
bulletUse screen-based ordering systems
bulletUse bulk soap dispensers in public restrooms
bulletUse high-efficiency hand-dryers
bulletPurchase recycled-content paper towels and toilet paper
Registration / Office
bulletPurchase from vendors and service providers with a commitment to the environment
bulletEncourage suppliers to minimize packaging and other waste materials
bulletPurchase recycled paper with a high percentage recycled content
bulletMake 2-sided copies / printed materials and avoid making extra copies
bulletUse recycled content paper for copies / printed materials
bulletUse vegetable based inks for copies / printed materials
bulletReuse scrap paper for notes
bulletReuse or donate shipping and packing supplies (peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.)
bulletOffer Leave No Trace tips and green travel education to guests
bulletPromote other green attractions, activities and Maryland Green Travel facilities
bulletSell environmentally friendly products
bulletSell sustainable, organic or local products
Buildings and Grounds
bulletUse green cleaning chemicals
bulletDispense cleaning agents in bulk to reduce quantities used
bulletPurchase durable equipment and furniture
bulletPurchase low-VOC carpets and fabrics
bulletUse low VOC adhesives
bulletUse reused building materials or those from sustainable sources
bulletUse latex paints that are low or no-VOC
bulletProperly recycle and/or dispose of thinners and solvents - required by EPA regulations
bulletPerform preventative maintenance on all appliances, HVAC systems, plumbing and vehicles
bulletUse less toxic materials
bulletUse integrated pest management - IPM
bulletMinimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers in landscaping
bulletUse composted production materials for fertilizer
The National Aquarium offers single-stream recycling bins to all guests that visit our buildings or our waterfronit park. Staff and volunteers have an additional opportunity to recycle additional items (batteries, corks, shoes, etc.) at collection locations throughout our buildings.
bulletWe have clearly marked recycling bins or provide convenient drop off locations
We are recycling:
bulletAluminium Cans
bulletElectronics equipment
bulletFood Composting
bulletFood Wastes
bulletFluorescent Lamps
bulletOffice Paper
bulletPacking Supplies
bulletPrinter and copy machine toner cartridges
bulletSteel Cans
bulletOther: shoes, uniforms, wetsuits, energy bar wrappers, corks, kitchen grease, street banners, etc.
bulletOur single stream recycling efforts offered to our guests, staff and visitors is managed by our facilities department in cooperation with Waste Management. Recycling bins are located in all public spaces and each office space as well. In addition, specialized recycling efforts (uniforms, shoes, etc) are coordinated through a variety of vendors, made possible at a recycling station in each of our buildings and is coordinated through our Internal Conservation Committee.
Our Innovative Ideas and Specifics in Recycling:
bulletold wetsuits have been made into drink coozies street banners are being made into tote bags We have an "office swap" location where you can drop off your unwanted office supplies and pick up things you may need before ordering new items.
Water Conservation
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property water usage
bulletTrack water bills and established baseline data on water usage and wastewater generation
bulletPerform preventative maintenance to stop drips and leaks
bulletUse water-flow metering to discover leaks and areas of high use
bulletUse microfiber technology mops
bulletDefrost foods ahead of time in refrigerators to avoid the need for running-water defrost
Use or installed the following devices:
bulletlow flow restrictors on faucets and showerheads
bulletaerators on faucets (0.5 gpm or less for lavatory and 2.2 gpm or less for kitchen faucets)
bulletlow flow toilets (1.6 gpf or less)
bulletlow flow urinals (1 gpf or less)
bulletwaterless urinals
bulletautomatic or sensored faucets or toilets in public restrooms
bullethigh efficiency Energy-Star rated dishwashers
Have an effective landscape management plan which utilizes:
bulletnative species
bulletdrought tolerant species
bulletlandscaping using BayScapes techniques
Have an effective storm water plan management including:
bulletHave a green roof
bulletUse cisterns
Our Innovative Ideas and Specifics in Water Conservation and Efficiency:
bulletWhen the Aquarium opened it's new building in 2005, we transformed the old outdoor seal pool into a 40,000 gallon cistern. The rain water collected is used to irrigate our native plant gardens in our waterfront park. Staff have also been integral in leading the Aquarium industry in developing new methods of treating exhibit water to improve water quality so that we can greatly decrease the volume needed for water changes.
Energy Efficiency
We use the following best management practices:
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property energy usage
bulletTrack overall energy bills and establish baseline energy usage
bulletHave had an energy audit to identify efficiency opportunities
bulletHave an energy management system in place to track and meter energy usage
bulletRegularly evaluated existing ovens and other kitchen equipment for temperature settings and energy efficiency opportunities
bulletConfirmed that all refrigerator, freezer and oven gaskets provide a good seal, or replaced
bulletRoutinely clean condenser coils on all refrigeration equipment
bulletHave proper pilot light adjustment
bulletSetting / installing defrost timers for freezers
bulletInstalled high-efficient evaporator fans for freezers and refrigerators
bulletInstalled timers on the ice-machine to avoid peak demand usage
bulletDesigned use of natural lighting
bulletUse occupancy sensors to turn on/off lights
bulletTurn off lights in unoccupied rooms
bulletMinimize the use of lighting during night cleaning
bulletUse high efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs in rooms, canned lighting or wherever possible
bulletUse high efficiency fluorescent ballasts and lamps - T-5's & T-8's
bulletUse LED lighting for:Outdoor and indoor bulbs are replaced with LED lamps, including iconic elements like the external blue wave and indoor bubble tubes.
Heating and Cooling
bulletRegularly perform preventative maintenance on HVAC system
bulletHave a centrally controlled HVAC system that is activated only when occupied
bulletMinimize the use of lighting during night cleaning
Energy Efficiency:
bulletENERGY STAR computers, appliances, office equipments etc.
bulletTurn off all electrical items in unoccupied rooms when not in use or at the end of the day
bulletPurchased Green Tags or Renewable Energy Certificates to support new renewable energy resources
Our Innovative Ideas and Specifics in Energy Conservation and Efficiency
bulletWe've installed numerous variable frequency drives on our pumps over the past couple of years estimating that we are saving as much as 50% of our energy costs.
Recycle Grease
We use the following best management practices:
bulletUse a grease recycling vendor that makes bio-diesel
Our grease recycling vendor is:
bulletWaste Oil Recyclers, Inc.
Minimize Disposable Food Service Items
We use the following best management practices:
bulletUse compostable foodservice items and collect such items for composting or direct this material to available composting operations in your area
Green Events
We use the following best management practices:
bulletUse ideas set forth in Maryland Green Travel's Checklist for Planning Green Events
bulletSupport event planners who want to hold green events
bulletTrain all event planner staff on green event techniques
bulletProvide visible recycling at all green events
bulletMinimize the use of disposable food service items
bulletUse double-sided printing and copying
bulletUse recycled content paper and soy based ink
bulletActivities we undertake to make our events green are:recycling available food scraps are composted non-disposable tableware used
Other Green Practices
We use the following best management practices:
bulletMinimize the Comute of our Employees-Flexible schedules and telecommuting are options for some employees
bulletAddressing Efficient Business Travel-Green travel (walking, biking, mass transit and car pooling) are incentivized through our green commuter program.
bulletIncreasing the Fuel Efficiency of our Fleet-We keep our aging fleet updated on service and repair - from inflated tires to tune-ups – to reduce energy use and emissions. When a vehicle is at the end of its life, the Fleet Administrator evaluates if a replacement is needed or if trips can be reduced through car-sharing. Future acquisitions are passed through the ICC who helps select used (reuse!) hybrid or diesel vehicles. Use of bio-diesel co-ops for fuel is currently being considered.
For guests:
bulletEducate guests on the availability of mass transit
bulletOur innovative ideas to minimize the impact of Transportation:When Zipcar, the national car-sharing program, arrived in Baltimore, fleet managers saw an opportunity. Zipcar is now used as an alternative transportation option to our vehicle fleet for professional trips. Car-sharing programs have a huge impact—by keeping fewer cars on the road, pollution and oil use is reduced. As an aquarium, our fleet isn't limited to the land – sea vessels used in research and conservation expeditions have been repowered with engines that are more fuel efficient and do not burn oil mixed with gas.
Green Building:
bulletSustainable Building Materials:Recycled building materials were recently used in the construction on our new benches in our dolphin ampitheater and the bridge we maintain between piers 4 and 5.
bulletPrograms:Maryland Green Registry
bulletAwards:2011 Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award
Other Innovative / Creative / Commonsense Green ideas:
bulletEach staff person is given a "Conservation Day Benefit" each year to participate in a community-based conservation event of theri choosing.
Measurable Results
In 2011: Composting - 20.24 tons organic waste collected Single-stream recycling - 45.72 tons diverted from landfill Technotrash - 347 pounds diverted from landfill eCycling - 1788 pounds diverted from landfill Batteries - 448 pounds diverted from landfill Waste cooking oil - 1,350 gallons recycled into biodiesel Capital Projects renovations - 75.8% construction debris recycled, 26.95 tons diverted from landfill Energy efficiency upgrades - 3.3 megawatts saved, $104,325 earned in rebates Community Supported Agriculture - 16 staff participated Green Commuter Program - 82 staff participated Paid Conservation Day benefit - 53 staff participated Watermarks printings - 3.5 tons of solid waste saved by using recycled paper, vegetable-based inks and wind power