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Houston Zoo staff asked the Sanders Architecture team to provide them with a new concessions stand that embraced sustainability and reflected the zoo’s commitment to conservation.

These small buildings are an example of how the Houston Zoo is increasing its sustainable operations, helping to save animals in the wild. These buildings were designed with recycled and reused materials and feature green roofs with native prairie wildflowers to provide a habitat for pollinators like butterflies and bees. In order to decrease the need for electricity, the buildings were designed with big windows to let natural light inside. The new food kiosk also has solar panels on the roof so the kiosk can use the sun to power the air conditioning during hotter periods. Migratory birds and insects flying across Houston perch on these roofs, while the layers of earth and roots provide natural insulation for employees working within the buildings. Like much of the wetland landscape, the roofs retain water during heavy rains, helping mitigate the excessive runoff that leads to Houston’s notorious flash floods.