Geothermal drilling has begun on grounds of the Toledo Zoo in Ohio, as part of its commitment to keeping its energy costs down and employing sustainable technology in its building and renovation. The drilling, which began in September, will provide heating and cooling to the zoo’s aquarium, which is scheduled for renovation in the coming years.

The geothermal system will utilize 32 300-foot wells that are 6 inches in diameter. They will be connected to three 20-ton water source pumps and two ultra-high efficiency hot water boilers, and will replace the two existing boilers, which were installed in 1950, and the existing 60-ton air-conditioning chiller. Replacing the existing HVAC system with this new geothermal system will reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint by more than 400,000 pounds, or 38 percent, annually. In addition, it is expected to reduce utility costs by nearly $25,000 each year when compared to the energy usage of the existing boilers.

After the drilling is completed, the system will be connected to the aquarium’s HVAC system, and the system is expected to be heating the aquarium in November. Once the system is in place, the wells will be completely underground. Zoo visitors won’t know the geothermal system is there, but they’ll feel the results each time they enter the aquarium.