Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has created a Green Team to research and evaluate our environmental impact and we are working towards reducing this through changes to our energy, water and waste consumption. We are committed to maximising the positive environmental and social impacts of our operations. We achieve this through water and energy efficiency, biodiversity, communication and planning. Through cooperation with our employees, suppliers and customers, we aim to set a new standard in environmental wildlife management. This will contribute to building a stronger Lone Pine and a safer, cleaner, more sustainable Australia.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary’s ‘Green Team’ consists of a member from each department across retail, animal and management teams. We have established a policy framework for the business sustainability plan which guides the team to reach the desired sustainability goals. The focus of this year has been reducing our reliance on traditional energy sources.
Lone Pine’s Green Team work closely with our staff to improve our daily practices to reduce our energy consumption through our daily procedures. This has encouraged all staff to be active citizens in reducing our energy usage. We will continue to analyse our methods to further improve our energy consumption.
We are constantly researching new and developing technologies which will help us to reach our goal of becoming the world’s first zoo to be off-grid.
As a prominent, respected business of SE Queensland, we take ‘leading by example’ seriously. In terms of sustainability, this is a large undertaking for us as we are home to a number of animals that require climate controlled environments. This large demand for energy means we have incorporated new technologies to reduce our carbon footprint and our reliance on fossil fuels.
Lone Pine continues to research, new practices, materials and energy saving methods. We continually challenge our staff and helping companies to think outside of the square to help reduce our impact on the environment. “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’”.
Both the Amphibian and Reptile House and the Platypus House are temperature controlled using geothermal power. This technology extracts the heat from the rooms and transfers it to the Earth’s rocks, 80m below the surface. The rocks at this depth are approximately 21 degrees Celsius. The cooler temperature from the ground is then pumped into the rooms. We also use this renewable energy source to control the temperature of the water for the platypus.
Lone Pine is divided into two electricity ‘zones’. These are both measured and charged separately. A recent inclusion into the sanctuary is two large solar arrays (one in each zone) one on the roof of the Platypus House and the second covering the administration building.
Covering the roof with solar panels reduces the amount of heat hitting the building, which in turn reduces the amount of energy required to control the temperature of the room. Not only this, but the solar panels provide more than enough energy to support the power requirements of the Platypus House, the Tesla charging station and any additional energy is used around the Sanctuary. The Administration Building is also covered with an array of solar panels. With the walls insulated, the direct sunlight being removed from the roof and the low energy consumption technology within the building, the solar panels are enough to power this building as well as feeding additional energy into the Sanctuary’s demands.
Since installing both the arrays and the geothermal technologies, Lone Pine’s Green Team have been monitoring and measuring the impact these sustainable alternatives have had using a range of applications.
It is the goal of the Green Team to reduce our energy use of traditional sources by 80% by 2020. To do this, we are not only incorporating renewable energy sources into the design of the sanctuary, but we are using alternative materials, improving our current practices and upgrading old equipment when required.
Lone Pine is home to a large movie area lining the Brisbane River. When this area was designed, we incorporated a smart solution to water pollution in the form of a swale. This landscaped feature has a number of purposes including slowing runoff from the adjacent carpark to reduce erosion. There is a strip of crushed recycled concrete which assist to neutralise runoff. Finally, there are layers of grass, soil and mulch which help to break down chemical pollutants and act as a natural filtration system before the clean water enters the Brisbane River. This feature is using a number of solutions to reduce the amount of pollution running into the River.
During the drought, Lone Pine worked with the State Government and the Brisbane City Council to install a 1 million litre rain water capture system. This water is 100% self-sufficient and holds approximately a 3 month supply of water. This is used in our toilet system as well as to water our gardens.
The sprinkler system installed around the sanctuary is connected to a rain gauge which monitors when the plants require moisture and when rain is predicted. The sprinklers only turn on when necessary which helps reduce water consumption and keeps our gardens maintained.
With a population of around 130 koalas, we have a large amount of green waste. The leaf that is not consumed by the koalas is mulched for garden beds and on-site plantation. This prevents weeds and retains water, helping to further reduce the amount of watering needed in these areas.
During the re-development of the Amphibian and Reptile building, the roof and walls were replaced with SolarSpan (a polystyrene core surrounded by COLORBOND steel) to improve the efficiency durability of the insulation. Having this layer of insulation improves the comfort levels inside the building year-round. SolarSpan is now being used on all new or renovated buildings around the sanctuary.
We have installed solar powered whirly birds and extraction fans on our administration building, feed shed and toilet blocks. These work as a vacuum to extract the heat from the ceiling spaces and resulting in a cooler building. Being solar powered, increases efficiency by 10-30 times.
In our General Store automatic doors were installed and two large air-conditioning units were removed. With the installation of the doors, it has not been necessary to install additional air-conditioning units in the building which has greatly reduced the amount of energy used to cool this building and therefore greatly reduced Lone Pine’s reliance on traditional energy sources.
To reduce the amount of energy used, we have made simple changes to our daily routines. An example of this is having the drink fridges on automatic timers. This means at night, the fridges are turned off and are automatically turned on again in the morning to cool the drinks before guests arrive on the grounds. Installing these timers was easy and has had a measurable difference in energy consumption within these buildings.
During the last 12 months, the Green Team recorded waste types in all sanctuary bins. The waste was then sorted into categories to find what types of waste we most commonly have. It was found that our largest types of waste were food scraps, green waste and co-mingled waste. We researched local bin companies with the best environmental policies and it was identified that Veolia has a methane extraction system which caps landfills and extracts the methane to convert into power for 2,500 houses. This is a great solution for the types of waste that are unable to be reused, recycled or refused, and is one reason we signed on with this company in 2017.
The end of 2016 saw the installation of two Tesla charging stations where visitors with Tesla cars can charge their vehicles whilst enjoying the Sanctuary.
To reduce our demand on petrol powered vehicles, Lone Pine encourages the use of electric powered scooters, skateboards and bikes within the sanctuary, for staff to commute to and from work and meetings. With the construction of the charging hut, these transport alternatives are charged using solar panels and are seen by guests at the Sanctuary on a daily basis. Here we also charge the power tools for the maintenance team which have been switched to tools powered by the sun.
Lone Pine is now home to a ‘Green Shop’ which is a range of sustainable products to encourage easy, cheap and fun sustainable switches. The first item in the shop was our rice husk mug, which is made from the by-product of rice and held together using tree sap. This reusable mug is sold at our gift shop and at the Riverside Café. We have a number of yearly pass members who return to the coffee shop with their rice husk mug and reduce the reliance on single-use paper cups.
Lone Pine’s sustainable range broadened to include a notebook. The earth friendly notebook was created using recycled paper, carbon neutral and responsible forestry practice approved cover, all manufactured in Australia. The cover artwork is inspired by Australia’s natural beauty, and the pages are filled with our favourite Frontiers of Science comics and inspirational quotes.
Our most recent addition to the shop is a solar powered solar tree. This is a series of 9 solar panels displayed on a bamboo frame in the design of a tree. Solar energy is a sustainable and renewable energy source which can produce power efficiently and also does not produce pollution. Just as a real trees use photosynthesis to produce energy from the sun, water, and soil, the Solar Tree uses the sun to produce energy in the form of electricity. This can be used to charge a range of devices including tablets and mobile phones.
We also have a range of transportable solar chargers, rechargeable batteries and solar powered battery chargers.