Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development (R&D) has a long history of innovation in environmental science and engineering. Because water features are an important part of the Disney experience, we have developed innovative treatment technologies particularly for non-point source nutrient management and the maintenance of good water quality. Because natural environments are important to all tourism, R&D is developing new techniques for measurement of ecosystem functions and services, particularly as they apply to biogeochemistry and water quality.

The creation of a sustainable built environment also benefits from the same level of research. To improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, R&D developed mathematical models which link building physics with behavior of building occupants. These models can be used to provide strategic investment guidance as we work to improve our energy performance. We have also developed new analysis methods and new design software to help us create truly sustainable buildings.

Recently implemented examples of environmental innovations at our Disneyland Resort site in Anaheim, California, include:
  • Using water banking to refresh local aquifers during the draining and refilling of water-based attractions
  • Powering our steam trains with biodiesel fuel made from used cooking oil
  • Using new solar technology to provide electricity for an expanded bakery

We have been recognized for efforts such as these with a number of awards, including the State of California Waste Reduction Award, the California Stormwater Quality Association Award and the Professional Grounds Management Society's highest Green Star Award.