With Rulantica, the owner family Mack have succeeded in realising a major innovative project. The sixth themed hotel at Europa-Park, the ‘Krønasår’, has been built at the gates of Germany’s largest theme park and has been welcoming guests since May 2019. From 28th November, the new indoor water world Rulantica will also be welcoming water fans large and small all year around. However, the Nordic themed settings don’t just cater for those who want to relax or have fun on the slides. As well as making sure visitors have lots of fun in the water, sustainability and ecological factors played a key role in the planning and implementation of the resort’s expansion.
Sustainability in and around Rulantica
Europa-Park stands out because of its exciting rides and high-quality shows but also because of its extensive parklands, the many natural oases in the midst of the hustle and bustle and its diverse vegetation. Protecting and caring for it is part and parcel of the corporate culture. This can also be seen around the new indoor water world Rulantica and the ‘Krønasår’ museum hotel. In building the expansion to the resort, great importance was attached to creating a balanced relationship between economy and ecology. The family company’s mission statement reads: “We are aware of our responsibility to the environment and society and look after it by carefully and sustainably managing landscape, energy, raw materials and buildings.”
From start to finish
Since it was founded in 1975, the management of Germany’s largest theme park has been committed to an ecologically sustainable approach. In the beginning, the company focused on nature conservation, waste disposal and recycling; today, numerous other tasks have been added, including good energy and water management. For the new Rulantica water world, the company was able to draw on its many years of experience in sustainability management. Innovative technologies were integrated at the same time – including the installation of a modern photovoltaic system – and numerous measures were successfully taken to protect flora and fauna.
As part of the major Rulantica project, the family company was keen to create an infrastructure that would take into account the existing habitats of the animal and plant world and protect them in the long term. In the run-up, an extensive range of offsets was therefore created by the Planungsgruppe Landschaft und Umwelt from Freiburg (planning group for landscape and environment) in coordination with the District Office of Ortenau.
In order to implement these in the best way possible, Europa-Park founded an ecological working group in 2015 consisting of representatives from Europa-Park, the local authority in Rust and nature and environmental experts. In their regular meetings, they jointly coordinated and implemented measures to protect nature and biodiversity. This resulted in 2,000 trees, 18,000 wild shrubs and 60,000 flowers being planted on the premises. 158 nesting boxes were also installed, a wildlife and bat corridor was built and a bee pavilion with eight colonies was established - to give just a few examples.
The parks around the Rulantica indoor water world are now like a newly created leisure and conservation area, in which effective and aesthetically appealing measures have been taken under the motto ‘ecology meets design’.
Other measures to offset the environmental impact will follow over the coming months and years. In addition to an adventure trail, a family trail, walking track and water pathway are in the pipeline. An ecological adventure station will also be built, which will allow visitors to experience the diversity of the green water world and its environment.
In 2009, Germany’s largest theme park installed a comprehensive energy management system based on both economic and ecological factors. It has also had its own Energy Management department since 2019, tasked with saving energy costs and focusing in particular on its own regenerative power generation. This skilled team is also dedicated to efficient and sustainable energy management of the Rulantica indoor water world.
Since 2001 Europa-Park has been running a 300+ metre-long photovoltaic system in the car park in front of the main entrance, making the most of the sunny region of South Baden. During construction of Rulantica, a system was also installed with 3,000 solar modules. This carport covers half of the car park area and not only supplies green electricity for the feature’s own needs, but also offers a shelter for visitors’ cars. The modern photovoltaic system generates over 1.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, which equates to the annual demand of 300 to 400 households, and thus saves over 600 tonnes of CO2.
Europa-Park also has four cogeneration units (CHPs), of which two supply the company’s own workshops and administration department. At the same time, the CHPs contribute to the heat and power supply to the buildings and produce around 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. Two other CHPs were recently built as part of the 45-hectare resort expansion, generating a reliable basic supply for Rulantica and the new 4* superior hotel ‘Krønasår’ with 15.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year.
For the lighting in the indoor water world, the company opted mainly for LED lights, which use very little energy. To minimise electricity requirements, energy-saving bulbs were also used for the remaining lighting.
Europa-Park is also driving innovation in the area of electric mobility. An electromobility concept jointly developed by the local authority in Rust, Europa-Park and the energy and environmental service provider badenova, resulted in the installation of ten e-charging points in 2018 in three different locations around Germany’s largest leisure park. Another charging station was installed this year in front of the museum hotel ‘Krønasår’. To support environmental travel and offer guests additional comfort, the car park for the Rulantica indoor water world will also soon be equipped with facilities for charging electric vehicles. There is already an upward trend in the use of charging facilities – each month the number of charged cars has more than doubled since they were put in.
Europa-Park promotes electric mobility on two wheels as well – at hotel ‘Krønasår’, you can hire electric bikes to use to explore the site around the resort expansion or the nearby ‘Taubergießen’ nature conservation area, for example.
Environmentally conscious use of resources is one of the key aspects of sustainable company management. Innovative technology in Rulantica ensures that both energy and water can be used in a resource-friendly way. Water can be pumped overnight from the ‘Vildstrøm’ in the outdoor area into an underwater tank. The brilliant insulation keeps the temperature constant − comparable to a thermos flask. The water can be easily returned to the wild river the next day using a pump system.
Europa-Park is also committed to keeping the demand for water as low as possible. To do this, it uses special filter technology, which can recycle around 80 percent of the wastewater from the swimming facilities. Only 20 percent of the daily demand for water in Rulantica is therefore supplied as fresh water, which is in turn extracted and processed by the company’s two deep wells.
Sustainability is also very important to Europa-Park when choosing its suppliers. For catering at the park and its hotels, preference is given to the use of seasonal products that are produced in the region. Germany’s largest theme park also specifically supports reliable trading partners and good working conditions. For this reason, they only source and sell fair-trade and certified coffee. Guests can also enjoy something really special in the 4* superior hotel ‘Krønasår’: delicious Rulantica honey, which is produced by the 400,000 residents of the bee pavilion right by the new water world.
In addition to the cogeneration units and heat pumps mentioned above, Europa-Park has installed an efficient building management system (BMS) in its six hotels and in all major systems and venues. The BMS is part of the modern facility management enabling information to be processed quickly and effectively. Using this system, it is possible not only to monitor and control the technical equipment efficiently, but also significantly reduce energy requirements and other operating costs. Thus, almost 80 percent of all relevant buildings in Germany’s largest leisure park now use this innovative building technology.
Hansgrohe EcoSmart products also contribute significantly to reducing energy and water needs in the Europa-Park hotels. A pilot project at the 4* superior hotel ‘Santa Isabel’ used water-saving fittings and showers to reduce water needs by about 30 percent - without any impact on the guests’ comfort.
Since 2007, Germany’s largest theme park has also used efficient frequency inverters (FIs) in ventilation systems in both new buildings and conversions. The air volume is automatically adjusted to the room temperature and air quality, which saves a lot of energy.
In October 2018, the ‘Bell Rock’, ‘Colosseo’, ‘Santa Isabel’, ‘Castillo Alcazar’ and ‘El Andaluz’ hotels were awarded the ‘DEHOGA Umweltcheck’ and received the gold award. ‘Krønasår – The Museum-Hotel’, which opened in May 2019, also received the coveted Viabono Award, which is a guarantee of environmental and climate-friendly travel.