Shedd Aquarium

At a Glance


Arts, Media and Entertainment

Project Type

Clean and Renewable Energy




Chicago, IL

Reductions icon

Annual CO2 Reductions:

7,500 metric tons


Jayson Uppal evaluated the feasibility of a microgrid installation at Shedd Aquarium in light of proposed energy-efficiency opportunities.


As a part of its ambitious ten-year energy plan, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is committed to cutting its energy consumption in half by 2020. Reliable sources that will ensure the delivery of continuous power to the systems that support its 32,000 animal residents, as well as operational and financial efficiencies are among the main goals of its roadmap plan. To tackle these, the Aquarium enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Jayson Uppal to explore the feasibility of a clean energy microgrid on the museum campus.


Faced with limited available space, Uppal’s initial analysis found that the three institutions would not be able to host enough solar panels to provide the necessary energy. Rather than trying to include additional generation capacity in the form of fuel cells powered by natural gas, which would be costly and would not help the institutions meet their sustainability goals, Uppal explored energy-efficiency opportunities to reduce the overall energy demand of the institutions. He worked with the facilities team at the Aquarium to determine how much energy could be saved from proposed upgrades to their lighting and pump systems. Additionally, he received initial commitments from the other two museums to explore energy-efficiency upgrades for their own systems. Not only would these initiatives help the institutions save money on their energy bills, but also they would make a clean energy microgrid viable for the museum campus.

Potential Impact

If implemented, the proposed microgrid would ensure business continuity to all three institutions on the campus during a power outage. Additionally, the microgrid and energy-efficiency upgrades would help the three institutions avoid over 7,500 metric tons of carbon emissions equivalents per year. This microgrid project will help the Aquarium meet its ten-year goals and establish Shedd Aquarium as a leader in sustainable energy management.

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