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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’”.

Geothermal power

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.

Solar power

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 rainwater 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.

Building design

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 whirlybirds 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.

Procedure changes

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.