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Theme parks: Ocean Park Take Eco-Approach to Polar Adventure


Hong Kong’s Ocean Park has used the latest innovations in sustainable building processes, in order to minimise the carbon footprint of its new, soon-to-open, Polar Adventure themed attraction. The company worked with local architectural firm Leigh and Orange, which has an international reputation, as well as award-winning green project credentials.

Polar Adventure has been designed to ensure that the eco-friendly installation is also optimised for the well-being of its polar animal ambassadors. Every aspect of the attraction’s design has been conceived with an eco-friendly approach in mind and this includes the world’s first ventilation system that “recycles residual cool air to cool down the Life Support System (LSS) and plant room area before being discharged.”

Polar Adventure is the final phase of Ocean Park’s HK$5.5 billion investment in the company’s Master Redevelopment Plan (MRP); attractions include a conservation and education platform which features a variety of animals such as penguins, walruses, spotted seals and more.

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“We have adopted an eco-friendly approach to every aspect of the design of Polar Adventure to create a comfortable home for our animal ambassadors to live and reproduce, while providing our guests a greener way to connect with nature through immersive polar exhibits, ” said George Tso, Ocean Park’s Executive Director of Engineering.

“For instance, we have used LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting extensively in guest areas to minimise energy consumption and heat production, but retained incandescent illumination in the animal exhibits to provide the necessary UVA and UVB for our animals’ wellbeing.”

The South Pole Spectacular attraction allows guests close encounters with three species of penguins, thanks to an open exhibit with a 270° viewing chamber. In addition to this, balconies, walkways and glass-bottomed floors allow visitors an underwater view of swimming penguins.

Green measures lower annual electricity consumption by 34%

The educational aspect to the attraction includes extensive displays and exhibits which highlight the plight of polar animals living under the threat of global climate change. This makes the green aspects involved in creating the attractions even more important to their overall ethos.

“We have utilised inventive designs and green features to minimise the exhibits’ electricity consumption while maintaining an optimal living environment for the animals. With all the green features in place, we have successfully lowered annual electricity consumption by 34%, ” explained Dominic Lam, Managing Director of Leigh and Orange, who have previously won the FuturArc Green Leadership Award.ocean park hong kong theme park logo

One of the most important innovations created for Polar Adventure is the cooling system; this transfers residual cool air from visitor areas to the Life Support System (LSS) and plant room and reduces the amount of energy necessary to cool essential machinery. Polar Adventure is the world’s first to use this technique for the purposes of energy conservation.

Additionally, the water-cooled chiller system uses half as much energy as more traditional methods and the LSS system also helps to keep indoor pools cold. This means that the water rarely needs replacing, so conserves more water as well as reduces the energy that would have been necessary to re-cool fresh water.

This is helped by the insulation which has been installed around the pool areas, which features 100mm of insulation at the walls and bottom of the pools and 90mm of insulation for the roof, 80% thicker than that usually found in public buildings. There are also six airlocks inside the exhibit areas which create individual thermal zones and prevent air from cool areas from escaping into warmer zones.

South Pole Spectacular also has a restaurant, ‘Tuxedos’, where guests can dine beside penguins whilst North Pole Encounter houses a number of artic species including Pacific walruses, spotted seals, Northern sea lions, snowy owls and the arctic fox.

Guests can also look forward to riding the Arctic Blast at Polar Adventure, a new and unique, family-orientated roller coaster.

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