Energy/Sustainability

Conservation, sustainability, energy and social impact have been a key focus at the outset. For those who want a more technical explanation, there are many features that make Ocean Yakka unique.

Energy

The lodge is totally off-grid and is powered by solar 11kW of solar PV, 1.5kW of wind, 28 kWh of battery and a back up genset (which hopefully and by design never runs, but there may be a few occasions). Moreover, the energy system is designed to use power during the day, which minimises storage and optimises solar generation. In particular, the heat pump hot water system switches on and runs during the day on solar, and similarly for water pumping where possible.

Electric car charging has been made available, but this has to be used with discretion depending on wind and solar yield. Typically, in summer it is possible to fully charge and a Nissan Leaf EV, and have power for all your needs if most the charging is done during the day!

The heat pump uses CO2 as a refrigerant (over 700 times lower greenhouse warming potential than the most common R32), and also has a large tank, so sufficient hot water is stored overnight reducing the need for Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery capacity. A heat pump is by far the most energy effective means of heating (4-5x that of a straight electric element), and achieves this by having circulating the refrigerant in a cycle of compression (gives off heat to the water) for the and expansion (absorbs heat from the environment). Not magic – but can seem like that!

Electric induction cooktops are used, as they are the most energy efficient – only heating the pot – unlike hot plates – or worse gas – where the heat escapes round the sides.

Double glazing and high insulating glass has been used

The lodge is mostly North facing to capture the heat during the cooler months, but blinds are installed to block out sun if needed. Given the temperature at the property only exceeds 25deg about 20 times a year, and on these occasions, there is so much solar PV, simply run the aircon – its effectively free.

Winter is certainly when energy is most likely to be a problem – thus the windows are there to get maximum energy, the walls/floors/ceilings are insulated and there is a fireplace that uses a hard wood . The wood is from the property and has to be removed to reduce fuel load during bushfire season.

Conservation

Conservation and preservation of natural ecosystems was our key reason for getting the land – with the view to heritage listing, but to counter the continuing destruction of our natural systems as our human species consumes like there is no tomorrow collectively behaving like a virus (or plague as David Attenborough put it).

Whilst the bush and woodland is very pristine, there has been infiltration of some invasive species – cape bridal creeper, thistle, paddock grasses and possible phytophthora (though some research is unclear whether this is introduced, and also its extent). We have mapped out problem areas, and a program of conservation management is in progress

Replanting of native species in the paddock area surrounding the house has commenced – with sheoaks – to bring more Glossy Blacks, eucalypts, fire retarding natives near the house, rushes, replanting of cleared Xanthorrhoea (Yakka or grass tree) etc. The ‘garden’ round the house has a number of colourful flowing natives, which are already bringing native bees, butterflies ladybirds etc. back.

We have installed camera traps to monitor movement of local fauna – wallabies, kangaroos, goannas, bassian thrush,

Previous fencing material has been removed to

We are part of a cat eradication program and members of Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife

We are members of Birds for Life, and do citizens surveys from time to time

We have associations with a number of conservation groups

The intention is that once the development is up and running, more effort will go into conservation.

The property adjoins Lashmar Conservation Park, and jointly comprises the larges intact strata of Eucalyptus Cnerifolia (narrow leaf mallee)

Sustainability

Water recycling. We use an anaerobic waste water recycling system – rather than a septic, which returns grey water and nutrient back to the ecosystem

Composting waste is something we are trialing that works for guests, but does not attract rats, mice etc. An enclosed compost facility is being undertaken, and possibly a separate ‘bokashi’ system.

We have repurposed some furniture – but we have to admit, it is all mostly new!

We have kept the foot print small and aimed for being very comfortable, but not extravagance.

We use an absolute minimal amount of chemicals on the property, for many reasons including the waste water needs bacteria for the sewerage, they have a detrimental impact on the environment and us humans. Cocktails of chemicals are causing long term harm, but it is difficult to quantify due to the complexity and time delay. There is sufficient evidence that keeps arising showing the damage, but unfortunately it is often after the fact – leaving bad health and environmental outcomes and many legal cases. Time to get on the front foot, use the precautionary principle and simply minimise or eleiminate.

Social Impact

The lodge (and camping) is on offer to groups that have and aligned ethos and are not able to afford the price

We provide guided walks on to community groups – particularly the Dudley Peninsula Walking Group, and others, and also allow access for locals to enjoy – but only by invitation, as the path is unclear at times and also for conservation reasons.

We have tried to have local contractors undertake work where possible

Ocean Yakka is a place to regenerate, get immersed in the wonders of nature, breath clean air, drink chemical free water, socialise with friends!