Tallinn Zoo now needs to fix fault rainforest exhibit climate system

Tallinn Zoo Southeast Asian rainforest exhibit.
Tallinn Zoo Southeast Asian rainforest exhibit. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A troubled tropical rainforest pavilion which opened in Tallinn Zoo at the start of summer cannot maintain the required climate, due to design flaws which prevent this. The designers say they were misled about the qualities of materials to be used in the facility's roof.

The zoo and the design company both say they hope to soon find a new solution, one that will be approved by the experts

The optimal indoor temperature for the rainforest building at Tallinn Zoo, which only opened at the end of May, is 27-28 degrees celsius, mimicking conditions found in rainforests in Southeast Asia.

However,  in June, when the temperature outside reached more like 30 degrees, the upshot was an overheated exhibit, leading to the facility being closed to visitors in order to cool down.

According to the zoo's former director Tiit Maran, who headed up the completion of the tropical house project, the designers are responsible for the issues, and have not put in place an adequate climate control solution.

Tiina Vilberg, head of the design bureau in question, ConArte, said meanwhile that the core of the problem lies in the building's roofing material,

The designers had been fed false information from the manufacturers of the materials to be used, she said, hence errors in the climate aspects once the building was functioning.

The material performed at a "significantly worse" level than that rated by the manufacturer, which Vilberg did not name, both in terms of retaining either heat or coolness from the inside, or of keeping it from the outside.

"Ultimately, this whole system is built on heating system for winter's low temperatures, and for cooling in summer," Vilberg went on.

Maran added that: "The upshot was that this solution is not suitable, we have to look for a new one, and this time we will also need an expert opinion. The zoo and the city of Tallinn are not going to use something that doesn't work, it has to be fixed."

The cost of doing this has not yet been reported.

Tallinn Zoo announced it was having to close the rainforest exhibition pavilion during afternoons, when hot weather arrived in mid-June, just weeks after the facility opened.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Kaisa Potisepp.

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