The thermostat also goes down in the Wildlands zoo in Emmen. And in particular in the large greenhouse where the Jungle area Rimbula can be found.
“We have done a lot here to reduce energy costs,” says director Erik van Engelen. “Our large greenhouse is the largest indoor jungle in the world. It’s a special building. When we had to cut back in 2018 and 2019, we looked at whether the temperature could be lowered. We didn’t do that all at once, but gradually. have gone from 26 degrees to a sub-temperature of 18 degrees.”
Together with the technical service and the employees who look after the plants and animals, we looked at the effect of the reduction on the plants and animals.
“You often see that the temperature in greenhouses is higher. It is just the case that people think, the temperature must be high there. We have looked at what would happen if we lowered the temperature in the greenhouse. We have done this very carefully done. We have 16,000 plants and fifty animal species here. But in the end we noticed that nothing adverse has happened.”
Many visitors have not noticed that the temperature has gone down. “Really?”, responds a visitor, who is sitting on the terrace in a T-shirt. “I’ve had it warmer here. It’s nice and warm now. Better than at home.”
“It’s very nice and warm here,” says a girl who regularly visits the zoo with a friend. A little further on, children are playing in their shirts at the playground equipment. “We have our coats on. But look at the grandchildren, they are suffocating because of the heat,” says a grandparent.
“We are here for the first time,” says a man who makes a round with his girlfriend. “We don’t really notice it. But it is very logical that the thermostat goes down. I think it will have to, with the current energy prices.”
It stays warmer in the butterfly temple, because the tropical butterflies cannot withstand a temperature lower than 22 degrees. “Then you could say that we no longer take butterflies in the winter, for example. But the butterfly temple is so important to Emmen and Wildlands that we want to keep it open with butterflies in it. So we don’t do it there,” says Van Engelen .
Still, concerns about rising energy prices are far from over. More than half a million euros have now been saved by making the large greenhouse colder, but the zoo still has to deal with energy costs of one million euros per year.
“It does mean that we are now going to look further. We have the same concern that many companies also have, precisely because we use a lot of energy every year. We are now working on the budget for 2023, but what concerns us most is: what is the energy price? We also have to buy again and will have a higher bill.”
Watch the video about the jungle greenhouse in Wildlands below: