Mt Paul adjoins the Freycinet National Park, and whilst in the past it's resources have been exploited through coal mining, grazing and forestry, today the property is being allowed to return to it's natural state, and numerous dams provide a reliable source of water for wildlife, even in drought conditions. The forest regrowth sequestres vast amounts of co2 on a daily basis, which more than offsets any emissions from the developments and activities on the property.
In 2009 the business achieved advanced level eco certification under Ecotourism Australia's internationally recognised scheme. This level is only awarded to the most innovative ecotourism businesses which provide opportunites to learn about the environment, use resources wisely, contribute to the conservation of the environment, and help the local community. These businesses undertake to link with others that have achieved eco certification, which locally includes Freycinet Adventures, and Freycinet Sea Cruises.
A botanical survey guided the choice of development sites on the property, and as well as designing to minimise the use of energy and water, environmentally sustainable design (ESD) principles governed the build strategy and the selection of building materials:
Build Strategy – minimising disruption to the site (use of Mega Anchors, minimising the use of concrete, restricting site access and managing truck movements etc), minimising wastage (designing to a 1200mm grid to suit standard material sizes, accurate materials ordering, recycling left over materials)
Building Materials – use of materials from renewable resources (plantation timber), avoiding use of toxic materials and maximising recyclability (no CCA treated timber, use of non off-gassing paints and furnishings, recycled polyester insulation batts, zinc alume roofing steel), avoiding materieals with high levels of embodied energy and from distant sources (minimising the use of steel, and using Tasmanian or Australian products wherever possible)
Energy Use Minimisation - small and /or efficient applicances, low energy/LED bulbs and solar lights, instant gas hot water to avoid heat losses from storage cylinders, double glazing and insulation, minimising runs of hot water pipe, energy sourced from renewables (grid connected photo voltaic system, solar hot water, wind turbine, wet back combustion stove, passive solar design with insulated thermal mass)
Water Self Sufficiency - roof catchment and storage tanks on all buildings, low pressure supply pumps, water saving shower heads, dual flush toilets, no spas, two night minimum stay policy to reduce laundry demand.
The greatest threat this property faces is the import of the root rot fungus called phytophthora cinnamomi, which is known to be in neighbouring parts of the Freycinet National Park, and is thought to have been imported on the boots of unsuspecting walkers who have visited infected areas.