The Komodo Dragon is the longest and heaviest lizard in the world. The largest known specimen was recorded at over 10 ft and weighed over 300 lbs. They reside on a few small Indonesian Islands and use biological tactics to bring down their prey. They bite their victim and infect them with bacterial saliva, which then slowly brings the animal to rest.

But despite these savage instincts, the Komodo Dragon requires a relatively friendly environment to thrive, especially when it comes to sunbathing. As cold-blooded reptiles, Dragons need a hot and humid climate to survive. But this came with many challenges. Many of which were found in the older construction of the original exhibit.

“This enclosure was originally designed back 20 years ago, and it was built inside essentially as a greenhouse with a glass roof. We didn’t have enough control over the environment- especially temperature and humidity, so in this project, the number one goal was to gain complete control over the environmental conditions,” said Kevin Murphy, animal curator at the Woodland Park Zoo.

As part of a long-term sustainability effort, the Woodland Park Zoo decided to ensure the Komodo Dragons were getting the best care. A large glass roof over the exhibit was removed and replaced with a solid one to improve insulation. However, the dragons weren’t receiving adequate natural sunlight as a result. In response, the design team used 13 Solatube SkyVault M74 Tubular daylighting Devices to deliver natural sunlight to the Komodo Dragon exhibit.

Using advanced optics, the Skyvault series delivers large amounts of full-spectrum light to the dragons, and top-notch thermal capabilities provide the dragons with a right-at-home feeling by reducing outer temperatures. This technology not only improves the sustainability of the exhibit but improves the visitor experience as well.