Learning From South Australia Environmental Sciences Essay

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There is, however, a responsibility on all those involved in tourism development to ensure that tourism is more sustainable. This is not just about controlling and managing any negative impacts. Tourism is in a special position to benefit local communities economically and socially, as well as raising awareness and support for conservation.

This case study explains some of the policies and tools that have been used over time to expand tourism based on these resources and to underpin its sustainability.


To accomplish South Australia's vision, the SA Tourism Plan 2003-2008 promotes the strategic designing of accommodation that:

• Exhibits sustainable design solutions

• Respects the surroundings

• Has a reputation for being innovative or unique

• Provides an unforgettable experience

• Underpins South Australia's core positioning themes - eg natural attractions, culture, wine and food

The test for South Australia is to push the growth and management of sustainable tourism that will be advantageous to both tourists and host communities whilst shielding and enhancing natural and cultural features.

According to their vision, sustainable tourism development should aim meet the current and future needs of hosts and tourists while ensuring the natural and cultural environment is capable of sustaining such uses and alternative future uses. (South Australian Tourism Commision, 2002)

Integrated Approach towards Sustainable Tourism:

Case Studies of Tourist Facilities Contributing to Sustainable Tourism

5.2.1 Ridge top Retreats


Southern Ocean Retreats is a family owned dealing that aims to offer visitors to Deep Creek Conservation Park with a choice of quality lodging at various locations within the Park. Barry Duykers and Jane Formato have developed a series of lodging from renovated country cottages to the modern Ridgetop Retreats set in a bush land area of the Park.http://www.google.co.in/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://national.atdw.com.au/multimedia/satc/9001650_sh06.jpg&sa=X&ei=_T5tUKbwM8TKrAej_YD4Dw&ved=0CAkQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNHbBgOkEjXUrEsEEq-YLntc0d53VA

The Ridgetop Retreats were planned by Adelaide-based architect Max Pritchard


Award winning design

Energy efficiency

Passive cooling and heating

Setting next to conservation park

Environmentally viable construction techniques


Deep Creek Conservation Park lies at the southern tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. It contains some of the State's most spectacular semi-wilderness areas and coastal scenery. The Park is a contrast of rugged coastal views across the Southern Ocean as well as tranquil settings beneath tall stringy bark forests. Orchids and ferns grow in moist gullies with permanent running creeks. The Park is home to some 400 native plant species including several of conservation significance. Western Grey Kangaroos can be seen as they graze on nearby grasslands. There are some 120 bird species in the park.

Issues and Constraints

The development issues and constraints included:

• Constructing a new tourism accommodation development within a Conservation Park

• Minimizing site disturbance caused by the development and construction process. Main concerns were natural hydrology, soil stability and quality and disturbance of flora around the site.

• Control of entrance to adjoining area to avoid harm to natural vegetation

• Suitable native (or regenerative) plantings to the site

• Power supply

• No mains connection for water and waste disposal

• Views and other qualities of the site

• Access to walking paths

• Fire protection considerations.

Building materials and construction

• The retreats feature principally 'lightweight' construction materials apart from the concrete slab. A waffle pod concrete slab was used as it avoids the need for excavation and provides thermal mass.

• Other construction materials comprise a mix of laminated glass, colourbond steel and compressed fibre cement for wall cladding and colourbond steel for roofing. The walls and roof are insulated. Materials have been selected primarily for passive thermal performance/good design for the climate, durability and aesthetic values.

• Throughout construction period, the areas available for builder's access and building envelopes were firmly defined and a daily clean-up of the building site was obligatory to minimize impact on the bush.


A key feature of the retreats is the use of passive solar design principles including: north facing floor-to-ceiling laminated glass windows

appropriate roof overhang to allow thermal performance during winter and shading during summer

concrete slab construction for thermal mass

Cross-flow ventilation is facilitated by the site's setting on ridge top and prevailing southerly breezes.

Other energy conservation principles incorporate a solar hot water system, energy efficient down lights with dimmers, a slow combustion heater and ceiling fan.

Significantly, there is no air-conditioning provided (ceiling fan only), however the design features sustain comfort levels all year round.

The retreats are dependent on a mains power connection located approximately 40 metres from the site. The owners considered alternative energy solutions but these proved costly. The use of passive solar design, solar hot water and energy conservation principles has helped minimise reliance on mains power.


Each retreat is completely reliant on a 25,000-litre rainwater tank as the sole source of water. The retreats are in a high rainfall area (880mm/year). To date this rainwater supply has been adequate, even with high occupancy rates and during dry years.

Water conservation measures include the installation of water efficient showerheads and taps and a dual-flush toilet.

A separate 25,000-litre rainwater tank has been installed for firefighting purposes. In the event of fire, this tank provides the capacity to douse the units in water for a minimum of 20 minutes.

5.2.2 Aquila Eco-Lodge


Aquila Eco Lodges are located in the midst of a privately owned natural bushland setting surrounded on three sides by Grampians National Park. It is a small family business, owned and run by Barb Bjerking and Madeleine Claus. It was established to endorse the idea and ease of sustainable living. They have built a number of high quality, architecturally unique lodges using simple construction methods and affordable energy supply and waste disposal technologies. Aquila Eco Lodges exhibits how sustainable living is realizable and financially feasible for a common man without any compromise on comforthttp://www.google.co.in/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://travelinsider.qantas.com.au/images/Qantas/article/aquila-eco-lodges_vic_0208_crno_main.jpg&sa=X&ei=3Ay2UKeEG9GVmQX7iYCoDw&ved=0CAkQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNGt3oP23iZdnYbUNQVg6rFudNgVDA


- Environmentally sustainable energy supply

- Response to context

- Unique architecture

- Passive thermal design principles

- Materials that are minimal toxic and have less embodied energy


The Aquila Lodges are at the tip of a national park containing a dramatic range of rugged mountains projecting abruptly from the nearby bushland. Vegetation includes brown stringy bark forests. Plants in the understory consist of heath and grass trees and native orchids. Wildlife species include emu, parrots, wallaby, kangaroos etc.

Issues and Constraints:

Development issues included:

Minimizing disturbance to nature

Preventing soil erosion during the construction process - this included minimizing access to neighboring vegetation

No mains power supply to site

No mains water or sewage connection

Forest fire protection

Building Materials and Construction

Building materials have been chosen for passive thermal performance, cost effectiveness, durability, low embodied energy and minimum toxic waste. They consist of:

A concrete slab floor and timber framed structure

Fibre cement sheeting with timber battens to join to interior and exterior walls

Corrugated steel roofing

thermal glass

Insulation to walls and roof

Local timber stone

No PVC pipes

Water based paint systems.

Waste was centralized during construction and the site was kept tidy to diminish the impact on the surroundings

The use of steep roof pitch over the north facing veranda allows winter sun into the veranda and living areas while excluding summer sun.


The whole compound is powered by solar energy with a generator back-up.

Vegetable oil waste is collected from a local restaurant and converted on-site into bio-diesel to fuel the generator.

Slow combustion wood burners are used for heating.

Instantaneous gas hot water systems have been used to minimise water wastage.

Low energy lighting and appliances.

Passive thermal design principles including:

- Concrete slab on ground for thermal mass

- North facing glazing

- Insulated walls and roof

- Cross-ventilation


The water supply for the lodges consists of rainwater collected from the roofs and is augmented with water collected from the creek during seasonal flow.

All water is filtered for leaves and wildlife and is tested for safe consumption.

Water flow restrictors have been installed on all fittings to reduce water consumption.

A separate 40,000-litre rainwater tank has been set up for firefighting purposes.


All organic kitchen waste and sewage is treated on site in a Dowmus (worm farm) sewage treatment system. Filtered nutrient rich waste water is removed from the system and released into the soil via a soakage trench. This has had no visible damaging effect on the native vegetation.

Guests are encouraged to drop their kitchen food scraps into the Dowmus system.

Inorganic household waste is separated - guests are encouraged to separate their own waste - and it is taken to recycling bins by the management

5.3 Learning from South Australia

In a development context, design is a process of conception and problem solving that goes beyond spatial arrangement, aesthetical form and appearance. It is a recurring process that enables solutions to be developed to complex environmental, economic, social and cultural issues. Hence the issues of a particular place should be thoroughly identified and researched about.

The design process followed is represented in the graphic below:

The approach to design and plan for any building concerning tourism should incorporate all factors and aspects so as to attain maximum positive outcome.