At Longitude 131°, our environmental commitment is best expressed by the lodge’s interaction with its local natural and cultural surroundings. A dynamic environmental management plan featuring state-of-the-art, continually evolving technologies steers lodge operations and ultimately enhances each guest’s experience of the destination. A proactive approach to best managing the health of our environmental setting is key to our guests’ experience, to the ongoing appeal of the destination and to the sustainability of business in experiential tourism.
Biodiversity Protection & Conservation
Longitude 131° was approved under the Commonwealth Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act and involved extensive consultations with the Central Land Council and Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, including studying cultural maps to confirm there were no sacred sites in the immediate area of the property.
Situated adjacent to the World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° was designed and constructed using techniques that minimise its impact on the site and surrounds. If required, the infrastructure could be completely dissembled and removed, and the site restored to its pre-development state with minimal remediation.
Particular attention is paid to the wellbeing of small native animals in the area including the local population of Mulgara, a carnivorous marsupial endemic to Central Australia. Twelve square kilometres of land has been set aside as a conservation reserve for the small but fierce predator, known by the indigenous name Ampurta.
Another species, the Great Desert Skink, was found to have a warren near the lodge site during construction, resulting in the relocation of an access road and creation of an exclusion zone.
A broad-ranging Environmental Management Plan is in place at Longitude 131° and governs all strategies relating to the conservation of the desert eco-system.
A commitment to best-manage energy is ongoing at Longitude 131°. Guest tents are made of three layers of fabric to enhance thermal and acoustic insulation. Floors are insulated and covered in natural stone to enhance cooling in summer and retain warmth in winter, while the tents are positioned to minimise heat load on window glazing.
Renewable Energy and Energy Savings
Longitude 131° is fitted with solar panels on the roof of the Dune House and guest tents to provide hot water. The swimming pool is warmed using energy efficient heat-pump technology.
Longitude 131° also taps into the Yulara Solar Project, commissioned by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia in 2016. The system integrates 1.8 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) into the existing power system at the Yulara Resort and neighbouring businesses. This system is a showcase for sustainable eco-tourism, setting a benchmark for other remote tourism operations.
With the desert sun an abundant solar resource, the integration of solar PV into the power system was identified as the best way to manage expenditure on energy whilst decreasing carbon emissions.
Extensive recycling is undertaken at Longitude 131°, with staff separating compostable materials, cardboard and paper, glass, plastic, aluminium and rubbish. Biodegradable chemicals are used for cleaning.
Longitude 131° features accredited bathroom and shower fittings to ensure efficient systems for guests to minimise their water usage. Guests are encouraged to opt for towel and linen changes every third day of their stay, potentially saving 250,000 litres a year per lodge as well as minimising detergent use. Luxury Tents feature a generous shower instead of a bath in order to preserve precious water in the desert environment.
Longitude 131° uses refillable water bottles for guest use on outdoor adventures. There are no single-use (plastic) drinking straws on offer for guests in the bar or restaurant. Guest amenities (shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and hand cream) are all presented in guest suites in stylish, refillable vessels, which are refilled as needed as part of the daily housekeeping service.