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.
Both our Amphibian and Reptile Habitat and Platypus House are temperature-controlled environments using geothermal energy. This technology extracts the heat from the rooms and transfers it 80m below the Earth’s surface. The ground at this depth is approximately 21 degrees Celsius. The cooler temperature from the ground is then pumped back up into the rooms. We also use this renewable energy source to control the temperature of the water for our platypus tanks, and for all air-conditioning in our Brisbane Koala Science Institute.
Lone Pine is home to two large solar arrays; one on the roof of our Platypus House and the other on our administration building.
Since installing both arrays, in addition to utilising geothermal energy, Lone Pine’s reliance on traditional power sources has reduced dramatically. The solar arrays not only generate enough energy to support most of Lone Pine’s electricity needs, but also minimises the need to heat and cool these buildings, but acting as a buffer between the roofs and the fierce Queensland sun.
Lone Pine is home to over 1-million litres of rainwater storage, which is used to supply all toilet systems, as well as being used for watering our gardens, eucalyptus plantation, animal water troughs and for other maintenance works. This water storage is vital to the sanctuary, particularly in times of drought.
With a population of 100 koalas, we also have a large amount of daily green waste. The leaf that is not consumed by our koalas is mulched for garden beds and onsite eucalyptus plantation, helping the ground retain water, and therefore reducing the amount of water needed in these areas. If you are walking around the sanctuary and get a strong smell of eucalypt, it may be that you are walking by a freshly-mulched garden!
Although it can’t be seen, our Riverside Café lawn area is also an important water management system known as a ‘swale’. This landscaped feature has a number of purposes including slowing run-off from the adjacent carpark before it reaches the Brisbane River, minimising the effects of erosion to the area. Layers of crushed recycle concrete, mulch, soil and grass also help neutralise run-off and breaks down any chemical pollutants before entering the waterway.