Cars won’t be the only thing being housed in Griffith University’s new $23.3 million multistorey car park – it will also become a new home to local microbats and native stingless bees.
In an attempt to reduce the amount of people contracting Ross River Fever in South East Queensland and protect the local ecosystem, Griffith will install microbat and native stingless bee boxes on and around the new building as well as living green walls on the car park.
School of Education and Professional academic Dr Ali Sammel said providing homes for microbats were beneficial for the environment and for locals. Microbats are capable of eating 1200 insects such as flies and mosquitoes every hour.
“We hope these little guys could reduce the cases of Ross River Fever by eating mosquitoes that are carriers for the disease, as there have been over 3,000 reported cases of people contracting the virus so far this year in South East Queensland alone,” she said.
“By encouraging microbats to Griffith University with artificial roost boxes we can enjoy the benefits of natural, chemical-free mosquito and pest control.
“Sadly microbat populations were dramatically declining due to habitat loss and people did not understand their worth.”
Microbats are small to medium-sized bats weighing from 3g to 150g with a wingspan of around 25cm.
Professor Catherine Pickering, of the School of the Environmental Future Research Institute said the boxes are likely to also provide homes for small marsupials such as Sugar Gliders and Squirrel Gliders among others.
She said some of the other sustainable initiatives that people can use in their own gardens have been introduced as part of the new car park were native vine walls.
“Along parts of the carpark, we have planted native vines such as Dusky Coral Pea (Kennedia rubicunda) and stunning waxflowers (Hoya australis) to create red and yellow flowering “living vine walls” as well as installing native bee boxes,” she said.
“We are also getting five bee boxes complete with colonies of native stingless bees (Tetragonula carbonaria). They have an important role in pollinating native flowers, as well as producing sugarbag honey.”
These sustainability aspects were done in collaboration between Dr Sammel, Professor Pickering and Bats Queensland.
The new car park, which was officially opened on June 3, also has low energy LED lighting, a 100kW Photo Voltaic array (solar panels and a 9m tall wind turbine.
It will provide parking for 1150 vehicles over four floors. It is access from Olsen Avenue, via Griffith Way and will reduce traffic on Edmund Rice Drive.