Animal-Centric Lighting at Auckland Zoo

  • Sector: Zoo (Other)
  • System: zencontrol DALI-2
  • Status: Complete
  • End Client: Auckland Zoo
  • Builder: NZ Strong
  • Engineer: Jacobs
  • Electrical Contractor: Caldwell & Levesque
  • Control Specialist(s): Sanjiv Gounder | Bel Arevalo

Animal-Centric Lighting Control

Auckland Zoo celebrates 100 years this year, so Intelligent Environments were particularly excited to be asked to design and commission a new lighting control system for the swamp forest habitat, forming part of the South East Asia Jungle Track,  a larger partially finished upgrade of the zoological park.

The $60 million South East Asia Jungle Track is considered the most ambitious project in the zoo’s 100-year history as part of a #FutureZoo renewals programme being funded through Auckland Council’s long-term plan.

Visitors will certainly feel immersed with the swamp forest tropical dome maintaining a balmy 28 degrees year-round. Harvested rainwater will irrigate all the plants as well as feed the special misting and rain systems.

This large transparent climate-controlled tropical dome will be home to Sunda Gharial Crocodiles, Turtles, Tortoises and a variety of fish species. It will mimic the hot and humid climate of an Indonesian swamp forest for Sunda gharial and other reptile and fish species. This unique habitat and the species that will live here, will be entirely new for Auckland Zoo.

There is also a “back of house” area which provides for services required to care for the species who make this dome their home.

The lighting control is a critical element for the maintenance of the habitat, simulating a daylight cycle suited to the animals housed in the enclosure. Sensors read the light level each morning and if the light is below required levels, the zencontrol system executes a scene to turn on individual lights at 10% and then ramp them up to 100% over a 30 minute time period. A similar scene is executed in the evening to ramp the lighting down to simulate sun setting in the animals’ natural environment.

Lighting control is also extended into the back of house, animal care, areas where there are also override controls for the automated lighting control system. BACnet integration is also provided to allow control from the overall BMS system for the zoological part.

Being made out of Ethylene Tetrafluroethylene the dome acts as an insulating blanket to help keep the habitat’s temperature optimal and because it is highly transparent it allows for plenty of sunlight to ensure the animals and plants get the critical ultra-violet rays they need. The lighting control is at hand to give natural light a boost, when New Zealand’s weather is unable to imitate that of a swamp forest!