Winnipeg's resident polar bears are being kept cool and warm by a green energy system that recognizes the threat to their cousins in Manitoba's north from global warming.

Rick Chopp

Rick Chopp, director of major projects for the zoo, said it only makes sense for the zoo to choose geothermal technology because it will help people understand that climate change is real. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy said Tuesday the Journey to Churchill exhibit has a geothermal energy system that was chosen over fossil-fuel options to address climate change concerns. 

Park officials said the system benefited from a provincial grant of $105,160 to encourage green energy and uses made-in-Manitoba technology. 

polar bear geothermal

Zoo officials said the underground geothermal system to keep the Journey to Churchill's polar bears comfortable is also green technology that will not contribute to climate change. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

"Our province is once again at the forefront of showcasing the benefits of renewable geothermal energy over fossil-fuel options," said Municipal Government Minister Drew Caldwell. 

The geothermal system at the park serves four detached buildings:

  • Gateway to Arctic building
  • Tundra Grill
  • water treatment complex
  • the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre

Rick Chopp, the zoo's director of major projects said going geothermal just made sense.

Female polar bear cub

Assinboine Park Zoo announced it has installed a geothermal system to keep the polar bears in the Journey to Churchill exhibit comfortable, something this 11-month old polar bear cub seems to appreciate. (Assiniboine Park Zoo)

"We chose to go the geothermal route actually because it really reflects our mission which is sustainability and making people understand that climate change or how we affect the earth is a real thing," he said. 

"Really, we're practising what we preach," he said. "There's obviously operating savings ... but probably the best part of it is there's no emissions. I mean, we're taking the heat and cooling from the earth essentially and conditioning our buildings with it."