The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of New York manages the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, including its flagship location and headquarters, the Bronx Zoo, as well as the New York Aquarium, and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos. These destinations attract more than 4 million people each year, visitors who come to view the 19,000 animals that call the parks home.

Having a diverse array of wildlife means recreating and maintaining a wide range of habitats - from the African plains to the Antarctic ice sheets - each with their own specific requirements. And it’s the behind-the-scenes efforts that help WCS support such complex and diverse environments. To that end, the organization has a long-standing, comprehensive service and maintenance agreement with Honeywell for all HVAC-focused needs across all five parks. The work is vital to maintaining humidity, or keeping areas dry and frigid.

The contract with Honeywell, which consists of routine upkeep, system retrofits and upgrades, and special projects, is not a typical agreement due to the critical nature of the surroundings. Honeywell technicians collaborate with WCS to strategically plan and conduct service work throughout park facilities, which are on a round-the-clock schedule and require accurate temperature control at all times.

“Maintaining our facilities is in some ways more critical and detail-specific than maintaining conditions at a hospital,” said Jim Morley, director of purchasing, and responsible for securing the goods and services necessary to operate WCS and its parks. “Keeping environments at certain settings is crucial, and we can’t simply move animals if something doesn’t work. If a boiler fails, for example, what do you do with the gorillas?”


As WCS’ flagship park, the Bronx Zoo currently features more than 4,000 animals, and many of its buildings date back to the mid-1900s or before. As a result, the zoo requires renovations, maintenance, and routine service to keep facilities, systems, and habitats up to par.

For example, the zoo’s World of Birds exhibit features hundreds of warm-climate species. Work at the aviary has included replacing boilers, upgrading temperature controls, and installing a three-way mixing valve on the facility’s cogeneration heater to control the water temperature and limit heating output to 175°F. For the exhibit’s nursery, Honeywell replaced the pneumatic damper actuators on the air handler, as well as the associated pneumatic controls, to better regulate the heating and airflow needed to nurture the bird chicks.

Like all maintenance at the zoo, the upgrades performed on the World of Birds exhibit require rigorous planning to ensure a stable environment. Technicians typically perform boiler upgrades and temperature control work during the summer months, which allows them to circulate in outside air and produce temperatures similar to the birds’ native climates.


The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States and features more than 350 kinds of aquatic species and more than 8,000 specimens, including both fish and marine mammals such as sea lions and walruses.

The aquarium relies on large heating and cooling systems to help maintain adequate temperatures in exhibit waters as well as the surrounding air and space.

To keep the aquarium’s systems up and running, Honeywell provides regular maintenance and upgrades to meet the facility’s delicate balance between special air and water needs. For example, the aquarium maintains open pools of water in its reef exhibit. Too much humidity from the water can lead to mold and other issues, so Honeywell implemented a 20-ton rooftop unit and new ductwork to better establish airflow and dehumidify the air.


WCS uses building automation technology to streamline and manage facility operations and service. To help maximize the organization’s investment, Honeywell has begun installing its Enterprise Buildings Integrator™ (EBI), an integrated controls platform, across WCS facilities. EBI ties HVAC, security, life safety systems and critical point monitoring together to provide a bird’s-eye view of WCS systems and equipment.

By moving to EBI, WCS will have the necessary control and insight to keep its equipment up and running optimally. Operators can view, access, and manage any system in real time from any workstation, which helps increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. WCS plans to use EBI to gather equipment and location-specific data to enhance maintenance and help isolate potential problems before they become larger issues.

Overall, service and maintenance plays a pivotal role in helping the Wildlife Conservation Society deliver on its mission of connecting humans and wildlife through sustainable interaction.

“No matter how you look at it - environmentally, operationally, or in terms of the wildlife we support - the more efficiently our systems function, the better off everyone is,” Morley said. “Service makes our organization tick, and it will continue to support our ongoing evolution.”